ParticleWizard
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Hey guys, I'm a year 11 student in the UK and I have developed a strong interest in actuary, especially with calculating risk and statistics. However, I do have a few questions that I have yet to understand

My first question is what's the difference between an Actuarial science degree over a Mathematics and Actuarial Science degree?
From my understanding, One is a single subject and the other is joint and I'm wondering what's the benefit of studying maths along with actuarial science over just picking actuarial science itself since I've heard in a joint degree, you learn 50% from both subjects.

My second question is related to the first and arguably not related to the subject of Actuary:
Why do most Actuaries have maths degrees and what are the benefits of having a Maths degree?
I understand that a Maths degree is very broad and has a variety of career options which is why many people pick Maths as they have no idea what they want to do as a career but from another perspective, isn't having a Maths degree bad? As it is very broad and you do not specialize in anything
For example, you are trying to apply for a trainee Actuary position or Accountancy.
Wouldn't it make for sense for employers to hire people with an Actuarial degree or an Accountancy degree since it would be a lot cheaper as less money is needed to train the new employee because they have a degree that specializes in the field they are applying for

My third question is about the current and future state of Actuary.
How saturated are the entry-level positions? Since more and more people are aware of what an Actuary is, How competitive and hard is it to get a trainee position now and how hard will it be in the future? (About 5-10 years later)Will this mean the value of being an Actuary will drop? As the supply increases and the demand is too small, will oversaturation make Actuaries less respected and valuable
Last edited by ParticleWizard; 3 months ago
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HedgePig
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I’m not the best person to answer your questions but since you haven’t had a response yet, I’ll reply anyway. (Background: I’m a UK qualified actuary although I’ve never worked in the UK.)

In order to qualify as an actuary you’ll need to pass a series of professional exams. However, if you achieve good marks in the relevant subjects at a university whose courses are accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) you can gain exemptions for those subjects. A joint maths/actuarial science degree likely would give some exemptions since you’ll be studying specific actuarial courses which wouldn’t be part of a pure maths degree. The advantage of a maths degree is that even if you have no exposure to actuarial courses, you’ll probably find the more mathy technical subjects relatively easy compared with someone who less of maths background.

You are right that employers would have to spend less on training someone who has more exemptions. So I believe many employers would prefer a graduate who is well on their way to qualifying. But I also think employers like people with a broader education as well. They are really looking for people who can pass all the exams, regardless of their background. From a student’s point of view, an actuarial science degree means you’ll qualify more quickly IF you get those exemptions. But it if you decide the career is not for you, you are stuck with a degree that is not well known outside the field. (By the way an accounting degree wouldn’t have a lot of overlap with an actuarial degree, and you wouldn’t get any exemptions.)

In many countries there is a big oversupply of entry level people. I don’t know the situation in the UK but suspect it’s similar. However, if you manage to land that first job in the field and then progress with the exams, your prospects are good. And your chances of getting that first job will depend on getting a good degree - not necessarily an actuarial science one but rather doing well in whatever course you’ve chosen. (I’ve worked with qualified actuaries who’ve taken actuarial science or maths degrees. But I’ve also worked with others who’ve had very different backgrounds, including a medical doctor and Chinese Literature major.)
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AdamCor
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"My first question is what's the difference between an Actuarial science degree over a Mathematics and Actuarial Science degree?"

It depends on the University, some Universities give different exemptions for them, some give the same. It's best to ask the University what the difference is for them (there's also Economics and Actuarial Science, no idea of all the differences.)

"Why do most Actuaries have maths degrees and what are the benefits of having a Maths degree?"

Idk if most have maths degrees, but there wasn't exactly a lot of Universities offering Actuarial Science degrees say 10 years ago. The benefits of a maths degree is that you'd know more maths (although a lot of it will be practically useless, such as cryptography), whereas Actuarial Science is more targeted to Actuaries and gives a lot more exemptions (I don't know of any single maths degrees that give exemptions).

"How saturated are the entry-level positions?"

They are saturated like every other positions, but in my experience, not as bad as other positions like Economics, Finance, or Accounting.
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