Finance Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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The finance industry is central to business in the UK, with it employing more than 2 million people and it contributing billions of pounds to the economy.

Every organisation has a finance department responsible for recording, analysing and interpreting financial information, producing reports, determining budgets and filing tax returns. This means that if you have graduated in a finance-related discipline, the prospect of you finding a decent job in the finance sector is much better than in other areas, with the added benefit that you can choose the type of company you would like to work in.

Finance pays higher salaries than many other careers, with the potential to earn an average salary of over £60,000 per year.

It is also an industry that is actively employing. According to research from Hudson the number of jobs available in finance grew in 2011.

All financial services roles require some degree of expertise and graduates are often required to complete further training. The Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) is a good source of information on training in the sector.

From 2013, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) requires financial advisors to gain a diploma-level qualification in Financial Planning before working in the finance sector.

Working in the financial services industry can be fast-paced and will sometimes require you to work long hours, but a job in this sector can mean a very attractive salary. With hard work it is possible to progress up the career ladder fairly quickly.

The majority of financial services jobs in London and the South East of England. Although London dominates other cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester have strong financial centres.

Some of the biggest and most respected graduate employers are in the finance sector. All of the ‘big four’ accountancy and financial services firms, (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC) all feature in the Times Top 100 graduate employers.

The opportunities to work in finance are varied, with positions in most companies across most industries.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

If you are looking for a career in finance, degrees in areas strong in numeracy and analytical skills are strong starting points. These can include degrees in business, accounting, finance, 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, with most companies accepting applications from people with a 2:1 and specific UCAS points in any subject. Requirements from smaller companies tend to vary.

What skills do I need for a job in finance?TOP ^

You will need to be comfortable working with numbers and sums working in the finance sector. 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 in many degree disciplines will have the necessary skills for working in banking. Degrees offer a good set of skills in logical thought, presentation, analysis and communication all of which are important in finance.

What graduate finance job can I do? TOP ^

There are many different graduate jobs in finance across several different areas of work. The main areas of work in finance are:
  • Financial planning: offering advice and supporting people and businesses to plan their finances.
  • Accountancy and finance: more than 1 million people work in tax, audit and accountancy businesses providing financial functions to companies and individuals.
  • Insurance: the insurance industry assesses risks and resolves claims against insurance policies for individuals and companies.
  • Investments and pensions: looking after and managing investments and pensions for companies and individuals.
Average finance salaries

Salaries for graduates in the finance sector are amongst the highest in the UK at present.

According the 'The Graduate Market in 2013' report by High Fliers the finance sector has an average starting salary of £30,000 or more. Salaries can rise dramatically upon gaining extra professional qualifications and experience.

In some cases it is known for salaries to increase before graduates begin work in the Autumn of each year. For example, 'The Big Four' firms don't finalise their starting salaries until the summer, so new graduates could start their job earning more than expected.
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