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Helping you find a career in the finance industry
The finance industry is a challenging and fast-paced. Itis competitive, but its graduate starting salaries are significantly higher than many other industries. With experience, you could end up earning six figures!
You'll spend most of your days working with data. You'll have to analyse it and work out what it suggests about the current performance of a particular sector or industry. You'll then have to consider the future implications on the economy.
The financial world is global. You might get opportunities to work across the world. If you're interested in travel, the finance industry can allow you to do this as you work.
Skills & interests required for a career in Finance
A firm grasp of economics is a must. You'll need to be a skilled mathematician with a keen eye for details and trends. You'll also need to be someone with developed analytical skills. Luckily, you should learn most of these skills during your undergraduate degree.
If you're interested in becoming a self-employed finance expert you'll also need a considerable amount of experience and contacts within the industry, so networking will be an essential skill for you.
You'll also be doing a lot of presentations to clients and stockholders, so make sure you can communicate clearly and persuasively.
Other important skills include:
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Finance
As a graduate, you can start your career on a graduate programme. These schemes can close very early, so think about applying during your second year.
It's likely you'll move around a lot. You'll have the chance to gain valuable experience and a diverse portfolio, making you more attractive to employers.
You can do postgraduate MBAs or even PhDs in finance. These are not always necessary, and many members of the industry undertake these qualifications after a few years of experience in the workplace.
Tips for getting into the field
At university, join the Society of Business Economics and Royal Economic Society. This will show your commitment to the finance industry. Also, you'll meet potential contacts who may help you get a job!
Try and contact local finance businesses and see if you can get an internship or some work experience. This will help you familiarise yourself with the industry and make some contacts.
Computer skills are also desirable. An increasing amount of financial systems are becoming automated. Also the growing threat of cybercrime has demanded increased awareness of the role of computer systems and the internet. While these skills aren't essential, having some knowledge of them can make you a more desirable candidate.
London is the centre of the UK's financial capital. It's likely you'll end up applying to some London based firms. It's competitive, but keep at it. If a company is unable to take you on, ask them how you can improve your skillset to make you a more attractive candidate.
How much can graduates earn in Finance?
Earning potential varies widely and is dependent on your experience. Stockbrokers tend to start on a salary of around £25,000. More senior members can earn up to £100,000-£150,000.
You'll also get a bonus and commission on top. You can achieve bonuses of 15-20% over your salary at the starting level, and it's even higher beyond that.
Here are some other examples:
Economist Starting Salary: £25,000-£35,000
After 15+ years experience: £50,000+ (and that plus is a significant plus, sometimes raising to six figures)
Investment Analyst (outside London): £18,000-£20,000 (+ commission)
Investment Analyst (in London): £28,000-£40,000 (+ commission)
After 5-8 years experience: £110,000+ (and then add up 200% in the form of bonuses)
Trainee financial adviser: £22,000-£33,000
Qualified financial adviser: £30,000-£45,000
Senior financial adviser: £60,000+
What qualifications do I need for a career in Finance?
The specific qualifications you'll need vary from job to job. But for the most part, something with a focus in economics will be beneficial.
Research the specific role you're interested in and match it to your own qualifications. If you don't have the correct qualifications, some agencies will take you on if you have an appropriate MBA in the right field.
If you need an extra push to get your foot in the industry, consider pursuing a postgraduate degree. Having an MBA or PhD is becoming increasingly common, but not always necessary.
Professional qualifications can also greatly improve your chances and your experience. The specifics will depend on the role you're pursuing, so do your research!