How to get a job in financial services
The financial services sector covers a wide variety of different services and job roles. We use the term financial services to refer to roles that directly affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary people, such as actuarial work, insurance broking, corporate and retail banking, and the financial regulators that ensure a safe and fair service for everyone.
Browse the current vacancies listed above, or consider applying speculatively. These alternative routes into the finance industry may also give you some inspiration if you’re struggling to get a graduate job or internship.
Jobs and schemes
There are plenty of graduate-level jobs and graduate schemes in the financial services sector. Whichever route you choose you will likely carry out some form of additional training to gain a professional qualification. For example, if you choose to follow a career as an actuary your employer will usually put you through additional training to pass the Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA) exams.
If you decide to pursue a career in retail banking you’ll most likely apply to a graduate scheme with a bank. Here you’ll be put through training to develop your managerial skills. Although this training doesn’t tend to come with any formal qualification, it will equip you with the tools needed for running a bank branch.
Top skills for a job in finance
Being successful in the financial services sector isn’t all about maths, although having a degree-level grasp of numbers can be very useful in some areas. You’ll need a broad range of skills including:
What is it like working in financial services?
Working life in financial services can be hectic, especially for graduates trying to balance their job with studying for relevant industry qualifications. However, most employers will support graduates who have to achieve extra qualifications. This is usually through providing in-house tuition, learning materials and time off for study, and paying exam fees.
You can also expect rewards for your hard work. Graduates in this sector have commented that they have been given substantial responsibilities early on, such as meeting clients, dealing with customers and working alongside senior partners. Find out more about the benefits of financial services careers. We also have advice on the main differences between insurance and investment banking to help you decide which would suit you best.
Getting into finance careers without a numerical degree
Numerical degrees aren’t essential for a career in financial services. The sector includes a range of different jobs, each requiring a different skills set, meaning that some degrees are particularly suited to certain job roles:
- Pension manager employers prefer business, finance and law degrees.
- Actuaries need to have a high level of maths, usually a B at A level and usually a numerical degree, such as maths, statistics, economics, physics or similar. However, the ability to deal effectively with clients is of equal importance.
- Retail bankers need a minimum of a 2.2 in any subject, although a degree in law, business, management, mathematics or economics may be advantageous.
- Corporate bankers require at least a 2.1, preferably in a business-related subject.
- Insurance brokers can come from any subject background; however, business, management economics and maths related degrees are advantageous.
- Insurance claims inspectors can have a degree from any background, but some employers prefer maths, economics, law, management, business studies, accountancy and finance degrees.
- Insurance risk surveyor candidates may find it helpful having a degree in business, law, management, insurance, mathematics, risk management, economics or engineering.
- Insurance underwriters can have any degree; however, some employers prefer accounting, finance, economics, law, management and business studies degrees.
- Loss adjuster employers, especially those specialising in technical fields such as engineering or construction, may prefer a degree relevant to that field.