Are you happy as an actuary?

While I would rate my job satisfaction at 4, I don’t know what others think about their own. Is this survey an accurate representation of the actuary profession?

I think most of these surveys are biased by counting students taking exams as actuaries. Not that I would not classify actuary as their career, but you will have a lot of responses from those hating on exams for various reasons. Salaries are also understated for the same reason.


Want to Be an Actuary? Odds Are, You’ll Fail the Test - WSJ.

Among people taking at least one exam from the Society of Actuaries—the field’s biggest U.S. credentialing body—15% eventually pass the multiple tests required to become an Associate, one of two designations allowing them to practice. Just 10% pass those and additional tests to become a Fellow, the group’s higher designation, which affords bigger responsibilities and salaries.


I was happy to be on the actuarial path while taking exams, but I very consciously chose the career for the work and not the structured exam path. I thought of the exams as my biggest risk to being successful.

Now that those are done I’m very happy being an actuary, I think it’s a great fit for what I like to do for work. I think many people become unhappy in the career because they join it early on for flimsy reasons like “I’m good at math and I like the exam based raises.”


I’m probably happiest as an actuary compared to anything else I am currently qualified to do. I probably made the wrong career choice and would have done better as a doctor or lawyer, or should have stayed in academia, but those aren’t options for me now.

I try to not put too much emphasis on my career though, at least to the extent it contributes to my overall happiness. I let bad jobs influence my happiness to the point it didn’t exist, and I hate that I let a corporation have that much power over me. Because I don’t feel comparably elated when things are going well. So I try to keep my career-related happiness level at neutral.

But all that being said, I’m definitely happier and feel like I have far more control over my career and my feelings about my career now that exams are behind me.

Relatively happy. I would rather not work than work, but since I have to, at least I get to do moderately interesting stuff that I am well suited to. And I am respected for my skills and get a good paycheck every two weeks.

I doubt some other career would make me be happier.


5 as of now

Love WFH and my work / life balance

Might have been as low as a 3, when I felt stifled by a micromanaging boss. Would be miserable in Valuation work, but love pricing work.


I guess I joined for a flimsy reason. :man_shrugging:

But exams are the real hurdle regardless of why you decided to pursue becoming an actuary. Once you are done, you have a lot of options. The unhappy qualified actuaries that I have known seem to either be unhappy people expecting others to change that for them or have chased for promotions that have put them in stressful jobs that may not have been a good fit for them.

well past exams, but when I took them I was in large actuarial programs with a real sense of community and comradery, so there was pressure, but I didn’t mind that

Oh yeah that would change things :laughing:

I am much happier in the non-traditional actuarial role I am in now, versus the traditional ones I’ve worked in the past. However, if you asked me 5 years ago if I would enjoy the stuff I’m doing now, I would have spit out my drink at the ridiculousness. I suspect this has a lot to do with the meds.

Happy? No.

Can I be happy doing any type of work? Probably also no.


Happy? No.
Content? Yes.

The work aligns with my interests, and I’ve got good work-life balance in the face of extenuating circumstances at home.

If I were more money- or career-focused, I’d be frustrated by my present circumstances…but I would have made other decisions in my career, such that I probably wouldn’t be in my present circumstances.


10 for me. I’m glad it ranked low, hopefully less peeps coming in

also, i think if u ranked it low, u probably never had a “real” job

1 Like

happy, yes. there are limits I observe to the role and how it is treated in the industry and i find that frustrating. hard for me to imagine an alternate career that seems valued highly enough by industry to bring more of what i might want. maybe law?

1 Like

“Happy”? That’s one of those “emotions,” right?

I wouldn’t get paid as much if I were happy. At least, I don’t show it to my boss.
I’m very comfortable where I am today, and 99% of it is due to being an actuary. I can do things off-work that make me happy.

maybe “happy” is too strong. It is work after all. Maybe “content”

This. To the extent that I have to work it seems as good as anything else.
If I didn’t need money I’d be done with it immediately.

1 Like

I think if I didn’t work at all I’d start to feel like a waste of space