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Discussion Uni Corner & 6th Form


Work life balance as an actuary?

Hi I’m just wondering if anyone can tell me whether being an actuary is similar to doctors or solicitors etc in terms of work hours? I’ve got a cousin who does law and an aunt who’s a doctor and they never stop! I’m not workshy at all I smashed my GCSEs and hoping for some very good a level grades but I just don’t want to end up in a career that just takes over my life. I d love a big family ideally before I get to thirty and I’m the sort of person who needs enough down time so as not to lose the plot, my aunt or cousins life would just be a complete nightmare for me. I’m a maths and science guy so I wanna work in that area, ideally maths. I ve done my research and heard an actuary role is more 9-5 and a good choice for a balanced life, but is that right in actual reality or just a myth? Don’t wanna stitch myself up here! Can anyone advise?

I’m a fully qualified actuary and I’ve done both the junior roles and senior management end, plus contracting, and hopefully I can answer your question in that it can be flexible, depending on what you personally want Jeremiah from the job and from your career. If you’re happy to stay at the more junior end you ll likely be looking at more 9-5 ish this could be working flexible hours but all depending on what company, and also certain times of the year mainly jan be aware you will need to expect to do some overtime. But if you want management or senior roles and also when contracting, from my personal experience you ll definitely be looking at working longer than 9-5 it could be til seven or even nine and again during key busy times you will be expected to stay later. 

It’s not like being a lawyer or doctor though in that I know from some friends of mine they will work most evenings and weekends as standard practice. You won’t do that as an actuary generally, unless you really want to. If you are looking for something with more 9-5 hours though, I’d advise just staying at the more junior end of the scale. When I came to do the more senior roles it was a bit of culture shock when I realised I definitely wouldn’t be shooting off at the usual time anymore lol, so just be aware of that if ever you decided you wanted to get into the senior end / management.


Cheers that’s really insightful. Will def be staying away from senior end management then! I’m currently deciding if I wanna be an actuary or an accountant anyway I think I will go down the actuary route but need to know for sure before applying for uni next year what course is best but I just don’t wanna end up like my older cousin and aunt who work day and night. It’s just not for me. Parents wanted me to be a doctor but they know that ain’t gonna happen! Def don’t wanna end up in a job where I can’t take a day off etc. I do want a life as well as money!!! Hopefully I can have both.


You’re welcome. You can have both in moderation but like with anything it’s a fine balance, so do be aware if you want the huge bucks you ll need to put more time in. That’s the same in any profession though and in law you can even end up earning next to nothing and still be working til the wee hours as you may already be aware from your relatives. If you’re more of a work to live and not live to work kind of guy, just stay out of the top end of things and you can still earn a decent wage and work reasonably 9-5 type hours. And if you do become an actuary something else to consider if you ever do any contracting...I don’t like to take any days off personally when contracting just because it costs me way too much money lol. In contracting you’re paid by the day, and can earn quite a lot of money so any days off can be costly in that sense. But you will still have plenty of time to figure it all out when you get a bit further on down the track. When you get into full time work  you’ll soon get to know what’s for you and what’s not for you... All the best with whatever you decide to do anyway.


Think I d better leave contracting alone then!  I just want to do a Nine til five and have plenty of holidays need time to spend with my ten kids I’m gonna have my gf come in and see this and ditch me right now cos she says twos gonna be her limit so I pretend to agree wit her haha. Really helps to know stuff early doors anyway from people who actually do the job who ain’t gonna lie to me or just guess wrong like the career people do cos soon I start making key decisions and can’t be making mistakes. I just don’t wanna have to backtrack midway through or get stitched up into doing a mad working lifestyle I jus didn’t want, bet my cuz and auntie are probably working til about four tonight while I’m gonna b chillin just like we should on a Friday nite nah sorry it’s just mad and totally wrong man workin weekends, keep tellin everyone else in my class they should just say no to law and medicine full stop haha lol, cheers for the pointers def helpful 💯 


Ten kids,😫you might end up having to do contracting mate lol, check out the salary survey on here and you’ll know what I’m saying! Would agree exactly with what tonys is saying there, stay at the junior end if you want a more 9-5 but I’ve always found that being an actuary is a pretty good choice for work life balance in general. And good luck with the uni applications.