You don’t have to be a graduate in finance or a related subject to excel.
Although entry requirements in the finance sector are often stringent and working life is very demanding, employees are usually rewarded for this. This article runs through some of the benefits that come with careers in finance.
1. There’s the opportunity to obtain qualifications in finance roles
From investment management to the actuarial profession, jobs in finance tend to include mandatory study towards industry-specific qualifications. On a three-year investment research graduate programme at investment management firm Baillie Gifford, for example, you will work towards chartered financial analyst (CFA) level 1 and investment management certificate (IMC) qualifications in your first year and have the option to continue with CFA level 2 and 3 in your second and third year.
2. Finance careers offer a range of roles and specialisations
The finance industry is broad, spanning sectors as diverse as actuarial, insurance, regulation and banking. Within each of these sectors there are a range of divisions that graduates can work in, and it’s not uncommon to experience different specialisms within that division or, once you have more experience under your belt, move into other lines of the business. Take graduate schemes in investment banking, for example; many are rotational, with analysts (the job title given to new recruits) spending three to six months of each year of the two/three-year programme working in a different division within the business.
3. Many finance professionals have a high level of job satisfaction
Employee surveys by our Insider Review team have revealed that graduates working across various areas of finance are almost completely satisfied with their job. For example, Baillie Gifford was scored 9.6/10 on a scale of ‘satisfaction with work’ (2015) by its graduate recruits who were polled. An Edinburgh-based graduate who works at the organisation attributed his job satisfaction to variety: ‘My role involves a range of tasks including reviewing companies, writing reports, meeting management teams, meeting industry analysts, writing meeting notes and attending conference calls.’ Investment bank Citi was scored 8.4/10 in the same year. A London-based graduate said: ‘My role can be demanding with regard to hours worked in order to meet the needs of the business, but it’s varied: my day-to-day responsibilities include fixing issues in production for application I am supporting and liaising regularly with front office business personnel.’
4. Finance employers encourage graduates to climb the career ladder
There are numerous examples of directors at huge organisations across the financial industry who entered the organisation on a graduate scheme. And you don’t have to be a graduate in finance or a related subject to excel. Toby Wemyss progressed from theology student to global head of facultative business at insurance broker Willis Towers Watson; read his interview.
5. Jobs in finance pay well, even at graduate level
Even when graduates start out in finance, jobs across the industry usually pay above the average graduate salary. The latest Institute of Student Employers (ISE) survey of its members, which include many of the largest finance organisations, revealed that in 2019 the median graduate starting salary in finance and professional services was £30,125, second only to the legal sector. Merchant banking group Close Brothers offers graduate recruits a starting salary of £27,000, which would increase to £32,000 in year two. In the same year, retail and commercial bank Lloyds Banking Group offered graduates between £31,000 and £45,000 depending on the role. Click here for more information about salaries in investment banking and here for other areas of finance.
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