While the financial sector may have had its fair share of bad news across the past decade, it is fair to say that it remains hugely important to many aspects of our lives and continues to thrive.
This is especially true in the UK, with research last year revealing that London remains the top financial centre in the world. The Z / Yen global financial centres index shows that the city's score is falling by 24 points.
With London maintaining a strong position on the global scale, the good news for students is that there is much demand in the UK for young people to join the financial services sector. A recent study by XpertHR looked at the state of play in the graduate labour market and polled nearly 200 employers. It was revealed that private sector services firms were presently seeking financial and finance roles, as well as marketing positions.
So, what does a career in the sector potentially sacrifice a graduate? Well, a study by Deloitte showed that UK students tend to associate banking and related areas with high pay. While it is going to be a graduate. For example, while salary benchmarking site Emolument said average wages for graduates stood at £ 24,000, the starting point for a role in investment banking could be more than double that.
Of course, for many, a good job is about more than just money, and research in the past has found a vital role in financial services. According to the Daily Telegraph, a report by City & Guilds in 2013 placed finance and accountancy among the top ten sectors that offer 'career happiness' to those aged between 18 and 25, with almost two-thirds stating that their roles were keeping them satisfied.
A range of roles
With all of this in mind, it is unsurprising that banking and financial services might be attractive to many students and graduates. But what kind of roles and positions can the sectors actually offer, and could you have what it takes? The sector is of course pretty fixed and caters for a diverse range of needs, so this means there are a whole host of different types of jobs you can find within them. As such, we've tried to boil it down to a few simple examples.
Trading is a huge part of financial services, or it revolves around stock markets or foreign exchange - often referred to as forex. The latter is best suited to those who have a sharp analytical mind. It is undoubtedly a complex area that involves a range of issues and jargon to consider. As an example of the situation, you may want to decide whether to become a Market Maker broker or other trading protocols such as ECN - a system that reduces the potential for a conflict of interest between a trader and a broker. ECN and DMA protocols offer higher liquidity and better transparency in pricing, so it is apparent that each area of specialisation has its benefits for those who know the ropes well. You see, there is evidently a lot that you may have to learn.
Another area, where a sharp mind is certainly an asset, is in the world of financial analysis. Understandably, in financial services there are always numbers that need crunching and, with the internet and IT generating a huge amount of data for businesses every day, the role of the financial analyst has arguably never been more important. Perhaps unsurprisingly, such a job sees individuals taking decisions. As Investopedia outlines, their expertise could be used in the most effective way for a company in the past 12 months.most cost-effective for a company in the past 12 months.
Accountancy is another area related to examining financial information and how organizations are performing. As with financial analysts, accountants are accountable for them in terms of how they work. While in a major accountancy firm, working in-house could not be a major accountant in a very specific industry. Unsurprisingly, taking the leap and becoming an accountant requires core qualifications, while further steps are also required in order to be able to refer to yourself as a chartered accountant.
All of the positions have to be taken so that we can remember that there are other sides of the financial services sector - for instance, retail banking. If you are more interested in people than numbers, a role working within a consumer-facing bank might just be something to consider. Such roles could involve talking to the public on a daily basis to help them understand complex issues and ensure they get the support they need. While, as HSUS outlines, it could be hugely rewarding and, as HSBC outlines, the potential for career progression both within a branch environment and beyond.
Plenty more to discover
It is difficult to provide a comprehensive overview of a sector as fixed as financial services. career.
The financial services sector is understandably a hugely competitive area, but it is also one of a great number of people who can also develop their skills. A rewarding career could well await you.
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