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Why is actuary often called one of the "best jobs" but banking isn't?

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
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    A lot of these career websites are calling the job of an actuary one of the best jobs in the world. But how is being actuary better than being a banker in, say, ECM? It pays better, it has better exit opportunities, not as intellectually hard, is more exciting, you can talk to clients more. Actuaries probably work longer as well at the start since they need to study for exams although bankers and traders don't. The only thing that an actuary has going for him against a banker is job security and that's probably why banker is not on the list.

    I know this seems like a rant but I'm just trying to start a discussion as to why certain jobs are considered the "best".

    I'd say an actuary definitely does have a better work-life balance than a banker. They do work quite long hours, especially at the start of their career when they're studying for exams, but overall from what I've heard the work isn't as stressful. Also, an actuarial career being intellectually stimulating is a positive quality- actuaries tend to like solving problems and analysing data and number crunching. Overall, I get a feeling that a higher percentage of actuaries genuinely love their work than bankers since a lot of them go into banking for the pay or for the exit opps.

    The hours are longer as a banker even with the exam study an actuary has to do plus you get given days off to study. It's also far less competitive and after qualifying you can be on over £60000 a year working 40 hour weeks with more holidays.

    The criteria US Jobs uses puts high emphasis on low stress.

    This isn't necessarily indicative of having a desirable job, though. Studies show short busts of stress are good, because you feel you've achieved. Chronic stress isn't.

    Most of these lists suck. Even looking at the 'highest paying jobs' list most newspapers write, you can instantly tell they're flawed.

    Apart from that, actuaries have a decent ramp up in pay (better than their accountant counterparts) and the cap is very generous. As others have said, actuarial work is less stressful and more conducive to work-life balance; finance on the other hand, is for people who want to work hard and enjoy finance. Financiers make many times as much as actuaries or accountants do at almost every step of the way up and have a much higher earnings cap (or in some cases, there is no cap - i.e. hedge fund owners).

    At the end of the day, it depends what your priorities are.

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