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Financial services and insurance
Graduate salaries in financial services

What salary can a graduate expect in retail banking, actuarial and insurance roles?

Annual salary is one of the most important factors graduates consider when applying for jobs or schemes in financial services. Will it be enough? What perks are included? For the lucky few with more than one job offer, which company pays more?
Once you’ve finished the graduate scheme, salaries can range from £24,000 to £40,000 depending on your employer and job role.

Financial services careers encompass insurance, retail banking, actuarial work, risk and regulation.

Businesses in the financial services sector are determined to attract the best and brightest graduates for their schemes, and often don’t publicly give out salary information in case another organisation offers something better. The majority of retail banks and insurance companies in particular do not release salary information until a job offer has been made. In these cases, from the job advert until you’re hired, the rate of pay is given as ‘competitive’.

How much does a graduate in the financial services get paid?

According to the results from the latest AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey of its members, the predicted median starting salary for graduates in the banking or financial services business sectors in 2013/2014 is £33,000. How much you’re paid depends on which area you’re in, though. For instance, a graduate in an actuarial career is predicted to receive a starting salary of £29,000 on average, whereas those in financial management could earn £27,000 and those in sales, customer management or business development could earn closer to £26,500.

However, remember that the survey only takes results from its members into account, which are the largest organisations that take on graduates. While these include companies such as Aon, Aviva, Deloitte, Santander and Standard Life, not all businesses have been included so figures may vary. Bear in mind, too, that those in London often earn around £2,000–£5,000 more than those in the rest of the country. If you’re not based in London, the figure may be lower but so will your cost of living.

Some companies offer regular pay rises, although this is more likely to happen once you have completed your graduate scheme. Additionally, graduates taking a series of exams, for example during an actuarial scheme, can sometimes be offered a pay rise after every exam they pass.

Once you’ve finished the graduate scheme, salaries can range from £24,000 to £40,000 depending on your employer and job role.

Which employers release salary information?

  • Ageas UK Limited – a starting salary of £22,204
  • AXA UK – between £26,000 and £30,800 depending on the job role. Actuarial schemes tend to pay more
  • deVere Group – between £25,000 and £40,000 in the first year
  • FactSet – a starting salary of £32,500
  • Lloyd's – a starting salary of £27,000, which increases by £1,000 every six months of the scheme
  • Lloyds Banking Group – £28,000 to £38,000 depending on the role
  • Nationwide – a starting salary of £28,000
  • Santander – £30,000 depending on the scheme
  • Zurich – between £26,500 and £28,900 depending on the job role. Actuarial schemes tend to pay more

What sort of perks can I expect?

There are a wide range of benefits offered by employers within the financial services, with perks such as up to 25 days' holiday, subsidised gym membership, private health insurance, a season ticket loan, life assurance and contributions into a pension scheme being the most common.

Other incentives that may be offered are:

  • starting bonuses – Aviva offers £1,500 and Lloyds Banking Group offers £3,000. Many other businesses offer starting bonuses that aren’t stated on their websites
  • financial support for professional qualifications – Lane Clark & Peacock is one business that offers this, alongside 40 days' study leave and an allowance for study materials
  • flexible working – Santander would consider letting you take a career break or job share, for example
  • an annual bonus or performance-related bonuses
  • a proportion of rental accommodation paid
  • access to a company car
  • dental insurance
  • retail or childcare vouchers
  • preferential rates for some of the organisation’s products
  • the option to buy more or sell some of your holiday entitlement
  • relocation assistance – Standard Life and Lloyds Banking Group offer this
  • travel insurance
  • foreign language training – offered by Standard Life, among others
  • the opportunity to work abroad

Extras

The AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey found that, of the businesses surveyed in the financial services and retail banking sectors:

  • just over a quarter offered relocation allowance
  • one in eight offered a location allowance
  • another quarter offered a signing-on bonus
  • almost 16% offered a financial incentive other than the above

In addition, the survey also found that retail banking and financial services were the sectors most likely to offer financial incentives such as bonuses; only 7.1% of the companies surveyed didn’t.

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