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Banking Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

Contents :
The banking sector in the UK offers many opportunities to graduates looking for a career. It is one of the most lucrative industries contributing massively to the economy.

Graduate jobs in BankingIn 2010/2011 the four biggest banks in the UK (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and Standard Chartered) unveiled profits of more than £24 billion.

A survey by High Fliers in 2011 showed that banking is becoming an increasingly popular career route for graduates, with the area of investment banking being the most popular choice with 85.5% applying for a position.

Banks are in the business of money, looking after it for clients from individuals to governments and even entire countries.

Jobs in the banking sector offer many lucrative and rewarding career paths.

There are a wide variety of positions available to graduates in banking. Consider your local high street bank. They will have financial advisors, cashiers, managers, IT specialists and mortgage advisors to name just a few.

The banking sector can be broken down into four broad categories:
  • Retail banking - working with small businesses and individuals,
  • Corporate or commercial banking - working with medium-to-large businesses,
  • Investment banking - helping clients raise capital, usually by investing in the financial markets,
  • Private baking - one-to-one service with wealthy individuals.
There is often a direct route into the banking industry with many banks and investment companies offering graduate banking training programmes and graduate banking schemes, taking you straight from university and training you in different areas of the banking sector. These often include fast-track routes into top positions and managerial roles.

It is worth researching the graduate schemes available to you at various employers through your university careers service and by visiting careers fairs.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

If you are looking for a career in banking, degrees in areas strong in numeracy and analytical skills are strong starting points. These can include degrees in business, accounting, finance or economics. Any mathematics based degrees will also give you a strong foundation for a banking job.

However, it is not essential to have a degree in the above subjects. Nick Burns-Howell at Nationwide said, "Whatever programme a graduate wants to join, they will need to have, or expect to gain, a 2:1 degree in any discipline. In addition they will also need 260 UCAS points (not including general studies)."

What skills do I need for a career in banking?TOP ^

To work in the banking sector you will need to be comfortable working with numbers and arithmetic. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork and negotiation are also likely to be important.

Some of the skills that banking recruiters might look for are:
Graduates from many degree disciplines will have the necessary skills for working in accounting. Degrees offer a good set of skills in logical thought, presentation, analysis and communication all of which are important for a career in banking.

What graduate banking job can I do? TOP ^

There are a wide variety of graduate jobs in the banking sector. The industry is so diverse that departments can vary from bank to bank. Here is a summary of the different areas of work you may encounter in the banking sector:
  • Sales and trading - Dealing with anything from stocks and bonds to foreign exchange, sales people sell opportunities to clients, while researching the market and traders to make the financial trades.
  • Operations - This area basically fuels the bank being responsible for all business dealings being carried out efficiently and risk-free.
  • Finance - People working in finance keep an eye on the profitability of the bank, producing financial statements and working with auditors.
  • Treasury - This area is vital as it looks after all the money in the bank. It is responsible for managing all the bank’s capital and its balance sheet.
  • Transaction banking - Transactions are made every day, with money moving from account to account and bank to bank. This is needs to be managed and made sure that the process is effective.
  • Wealth management - This is an elite and demanding area of banking, and also the one that generates the big salaries. This role is all about investing and managing money that belongs to wealthy clients.
  • Risk management - The financial market is a risky one to be part of. This division is important for the running and survival of any bank.
  • Asset management - These people look at investments for private funds, individuals and organisations.
  • Investment banking - This is also known as corporate finance. This helps clients build their business by providing strategic advice and financial products.
  • Legal - There are many, many rules involved in operating in the banking sector and this department makes sure that banks are not breaking the law with their practices.
  • Human resources - A bank is only as good as its staff. This area is responsible for hiring, rewarding and keeping staff.
Average banking salaries

Salaries for graduates in the banking sector are amongst the highest in the UK at present. Graduate starters can expect a salary of between £27,000 and £45,000.

Investment banking offers high starting salaries with an average graduate starting salary in this sector coming in at £45,000. This is up 20% from 2010 (The Graduate Market in 2013, High Fliers Research Ltd.)
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