Money is one area in which the UK’s economy excels. The country – and London in particular – remains a world leader when it comes to all things banking and finance. Financial services accounts for a larger share of the nation’s GDP than any other country and the UK has a healthy export surplus for such services.
It can, therefore, be a smart career choice for people to earn a lucrative living. With that in mind, our guide looks at the different opportunities that you could explore in the world of finance:
Career paths in the financial sector
There are many routes to take into the financial sector, with a range of roles to suit people with different skills.
Four key ones to consider are:
- Every business has to keep on top of its financial performance and that means turning to someone with the expertise to be able to accurately manage and prepare business accounts, both for internal analysis and for external scrutiny. Some accountants specialise in tax, helping people to make sense of what they need to pay to HMRC to fulfil their legal obligations.
- Financial planning. Accountants help to look back over financial statements and make sense of them, financial planners – by contrast – focus on the future, helping individuals and businesses to be able to manage their money successfully.
- Whether it’s cars, homes, pets or people, many aspects of our lives require insurance. People working in this sector need to be able to accurately assess risk in order to effectively price up policies and help to make fast and fair assessments of claims when they are made.
- Many people are looking for ways to make their money go further – especially at a time when interest rates are so low and standard savings accounts are delivering such poor returns. This investment can take many forms, from forex traders watching the fast-moving currency markets live through to pensions specialists looking for annuities and other products to provide for people in their retirement.
On top of this, there are also a whole host of opportunities to work within banks and building societies – be that as a cashier or mortgage adviser in a customer-facing role or in a back office role managing the money of customers.
Biggest employers in the financial sector
So, where can you do all of this?
The Prospects website highlights the key employers in the financial sector, including:
- Accountancy: Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC (known as the ‘big four’)
- Banking: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander
- Insurance: Admiral, Aviva, AXA, Direct Line, Legal & General, Liverpool Victoria (LV=), Prudential, RSA Group, Standard Life.
- Investment banking: Barclays Investment Bank, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs.
These employers will typically offer graduate schemes to reach out to fresh-faced university leavers who are keen to put their academic studies to use. However, there are also plenty of non-graduate roles in this sector – which employs more than a million people. It’s also worth stressing that London isn’t the only place to pursue a career in finance either, with the likes of Leeds and Edinburgh acting as key employment hotspots.
As a strong sector, with lots of different types of roles in reputable businesses across multiple locations, there are many ways to get into the financial sector – and many good reasons to do so too.