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James Stewart

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Smart Futures

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  James Stewart
Get some experience even if it is voluntary work so that you have an idea if you like the sector and you will have something to talk about at interview.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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€27k > 320 
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€27 - 320 
Related Information:
Chief Actuary 110 - 320
Qualified: 55 - 140
Newly Qualified: 60 - 100
Part-Qualified: 32 - 75
Trainee (Graduate): 27 - 45
Data Source(s):
Sigmar / Brightwater / CPL / Hudson / Abrivia

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Actuaries, economists and statisticians specialising in big data analytics with skills in IT, data mining, modelling, and advanced maths or related and relevant specialist skills, qualifications or experience.

Occupational Category

Actuaries, Economists & Statisticians; other Business Professionals

Also included in this category:

Actuarial consultants; economists; statistical analysts; researchers; researchers (journalism); consultants (research); policy advisers (government); librarians; archivists and curators

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 5%
Aged over 55: 19%
Male / Female: 46 / 54%
Non-Nationals: 17%
With Third Level: 91%
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At a Glance... header image

Uses mathematical and statistical methods to assess financial probabilities for projects found mainly in the insurance industry.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records: 1

Maebh Kennedy
Acturial Trainee  
Maedbh Kennedy works in New Ireland Insurance as part of the actuarial evaluation team at Bank of Ireland. She has been in her current role for the last six months and hopes to qualify within the next few years as an Actuary.
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The Work header image

Far from being a narrow specialisation, an actuarial qualification opens up a wide range of employment possibilities from academic research to the whole spectrum of commerce.   
The principal areas of employment that are specific to Actuaries are briefly outlined below.   
Life insurance has been a traditional area for actuaries over the last couple of centuries. Actuaries have a statutory duty in reporting on the financial health of the company. They are also concerned with product development, underwriting, and the formulation of investment policy, fund management, and general managerial matters. Over the last few decades, actuaries are increasingly found in general insurance companies where their statistical model building skills and general business acumen are used to set premium levels, establish reserves, and report on the overall financial position of the company.   
Companies employ firms of consulting Actuaries to advise on pensions and employee benefit matters and, at times, consulting actuaries also provide advice to insurance and investment companies. A sizable minority of actuaries are involved in capitalising damages for court awards. The nature of the work of consulting actuaries tends to be varied but, at its core, involves producing financial forecasts and models to judge the consequences of various courses of action. Mortality (death rate) or morbidity (sickness rate) statistics, for example, are often used as background information in the calculations.   
Actuaries also decide how to invest a company's or pension scheme's assets and advise on the funding and overall management of pension schemes. A small minority of actuaries are fund managers, making the daily stock selection decisions of very large funds. Finally, an even smaller number are lecturers and researchers in universities in Finance, Statistical or Mathematical Science departments.   
The Actuarial profession is small and closely knit, with regular seminars by the Society of Actuaries in Ireland to ensure continuous professional development throughout a member's career.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves and liabilities necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.


Determine or help determine company policy, and explain complex technical matters to company executives, government officials, shareholders, policyholders, or the public.


Design, review and help administer insurance, annuity and pension plans, determining financial soundness and calculating premiums.


Analyze statistical information to estimate mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates.


Provide advice to clients on a contract basis, working as a consultant.


Collaborate with programmers, underwriters, accounts, claims experts, and senior management to help companies develop plans for new lines of business or improving existing business.


Provide expertise to help financial institutions manage risks and maximize returns associated with investment products or credit offerings.


Construct probability tables for events such as fires, natural disasters, and unemployment, based on analysis of statistical data and other pertinent information.


Determine equitable basis for distributing surplus earnings under participating insurance and annuity contracts in mutual companies.


Testify before public agencies on proposed legislation affecting businesses.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others:  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.


Thinking Creatively:  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards:  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.


Provide Consultation and Advice to Others:  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Economics and Accounting:  Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.


English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Law and Government:  Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Mathematics:   Using mathematics to solve problems.


Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Systems Analysis:   Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Systems Evaluation:   Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

To become an actuary you must be interested in the practical analysis of business problems and have the ability to solve complex financial problems involving large sums of money. You must have a flair for mathematics and be able to pay close attention to detail. You also need to be able to express ideas and facts clearly. Therefore a methodical approach, numeric competence and sound judgement are essential skills in order to become an actuary.

Entry Routesheader image

The majority of Actuaries in Ireland qualify through the professional exams and other requirements of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the first step to becoming an actuary is to become a Student of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

For applicants who have completed their education to date in Ireland, the minimum entry requirements to become a Student of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries are:

Grade A1 or A2 in Honours Mathematics at the Leaving Certificate and a pass in at least four other subjects including English.


Other qualifications which the Council of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries consider to be equivalent to the above OR A degree awarded by a university in the Republic of Ireland, provided that the applicant has: Studied mathematical sciences as a major subject as part of an honours degree course and gained at least third class honours in that degree,


Obtained a first or second class honours degree in any subject, together with at least a Grade C at Leaving Certificate Honours Level in any mathematical subject or such other standard in mathematics as the Council of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries consider to be equivalent;

These are minimum requirements. In practice, the professional exams are challenging and those who successfully complete them have a very good Leaving Certificate (near maximum points) and/or a strong degree in actuarial science or a mathematics-related subject.

When you become a Student of the UK-based Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, you may also become a Student of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland. The Society liaises closely with the Institute and Faculty on behalf of the Society’s Students.

To become a fully qualified actuary you must complete a series of exams. The exams are held twice a year – once in the Spring and again in the Autumn. You may take the subjects in whatever order you choose. Typically, it takes about 3 to 6 years to complete the exams, depending on the extent to which you can claim exemptions on the basis of relevant third-level qualifications.

You must complete at least three years’ experience of actuarial work, supervised by the holder of a recognised actuarial qualification. Typically a student works as an actuarial trainee in an insurance company, a pensions consultancy or another actuarial environment and studies for the exams in his or her spare time.

Employers generally provide support for actuarial trainees in the form of paid study leave, Institute and Faculty and Society membership costs and on-the-job training and development.

Developing work-based skills provides an opportunity to understand how practical considerations can affect theoretical models. It also helps you to grow your personal skills and develop your professionalism. You must attend a professionalism course.

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries organise professionalism courses in the United Kingdom.

The Society of Actuaries in Ireland organises courses for its members in Ireland, and these are fully accredited by the Institute and Faculty.

Last Updated: March, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Actuary - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Actuary - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Actuary - from:  GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Society of Actuaries in Ireland
  Address: Clanwilliam House, Clanwilliam Place, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 634 0020
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Insurance Ireland
  Address: Insurance House, 39 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 676 1820
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: LIA
  Address: LIA House, 183 Kimmage Road West, Dublin 12
  Tel: 01 - 709 9850
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Insurance Institute of Ireland
  Address: Insurance House, 39 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 677 2582
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Banking, Insurance & Financial Services
Accountancy & Taxation
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