Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Finance Careers

James Thornhill

The finance industry is central to business in the UK, with it employing more than two 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.

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 also have strong financial centres.

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

What finance roles can I do?

The finance industry encompasses everyone from bank tellers to financial directors in huge, commercial organisations. Those in financial director positions will have overall responsibility for the financial decisions made by the company and the consequences of them.

Some of the roles available in finance include:

  • Financial controller
  • Credit control manager
  • Bank teller
  • Bank manager
  • Auditor
  • Accountant
  • Actuary

How much can I earn as a Finance Worker?

The pay scale in this industry varies greatly depending on the kind of job you have. Bank tellers and customer advisors make around £15,000, going to more than £20,000 as they move into management roles.

Accountants can make between £20,000 and £30,000 as their career progresses, while actuaries start off earning around £30,000 and can make over £50,000 as they become experienced. It's a similar picture for those who work in financial advisory positions.

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

Here are the average salaries for some financial services roles:

Financial controller - £44,918

Credit control manager - £33,835

Bank cashier - £14,147

Trainee bank manager - £18,000 n- £24,000

Bank manager – £26,000 - £40,000

Senior bank manager - £40,000 - £60,000

Auditor - £28,762

Senior auditor - £3,861

Charted accountant - £34,060

What Qualifications do I Need to be a Finance Worker?


After a Bachelors Degree

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.

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

Some of the biggest and most respected graduate employers are in the finance sector offer graduate schemes, which are very structured and last two or three years. Gaining a place on these schemes can be tough, but the pay-off is that 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.

What Skills Do I Need to be a Finance Worker?

You will need to be comfortable working with numbers and sums to have a career in 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:

  • Numeracy
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Analytical skills
  • An ability to work under pressure
  • Presentation skills

What Experience Do I Need to Get a Job in Finance?

Formal work experience is not essential for work in the sector. You should prove yourself through qualifications and, if possible, relevant extra-curricular activities offered by your university or college.

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