Individuals, businesses and government agencies need financial management expertise so careers in finance may be found within the private, public and non-profit sectors.
Careers in finance attract individuals interested in the financial markets and the economy as well as those with strong mathematical, computer, analytical and problem-solving skills.
Interpersonal skills are also very important, with both oral and written communication an important part of many finance jobs.
Routes into this sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and Maths will help get you into this sector. Your school might also offer vocational qualificationssuch as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc. related to this specific job sector.
- At 16 you have more options – A Levels, apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, and traineeships have also started in some areas.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
These are some of the routes into a career in finance:
- Study a vocational degree - in a relevant subject such as Banking, International Finance, Accountancy or Actuarial Sciences.
- Study any degree subject followed by employment on a graduate finance scheme.
- If you are not sure which route you want to take Ernst and Young offer a scheme called Smart Futures - paid work experience and mentoring for A level students in Year 12 so you can see if finance is for you.
- The Gap Year scheme in finance offered by Deloitte allows you to work for nine months gaining new skills and then get paid to go travelling or volunteering for three months.
- Higher Apprenticeships/ School leaver schemes in accountancy and finance. These are very popular with students and employers. You can work your way up from level 2 all the way to being a chartered accountant. You can either choose to do an apprenticeship or study part time to gain AAT qualifications. Training companies such as Kaplan, BPP and your local FE college may offer these AAT courses at level 2 and level 3. Barclays and KPMG offer a Higher Apprenticeship schemes to school leavers and the opportunity to study level 4 AAT
- If you are aiming for at least 104 UCAS points [BCC] you could apply for a Bright Start Apprenticeships with Deloitte. These offer you the chance to specialise and gain qualifications in a range of financial areas from cyber security, tax consulting, technology, audit and assurance, strategy and operations.
- Within finance careers there are specific qualifications you need to be able to operate- for instance to be a financial adviser you will need to gain licences and qualifications to advise about specific products.
Spotlight on.... Apprenticeships
Finance, accountancy and financial services offer a breadth of career opportunities for people who are keen to work in a successful and global marketplace.
Apprenticeships in the financial services operate at a range of levels, relevant to a range of job roles. Large schemes are run by HSBC, Barclays Bank, Nationwide, Santander, PwC and Lloyds.
An Accountancy Apprenticeship could find you working in an accounts department helping a business or organisation manage their money properly. Accounting is a highly skilled profession. Apprentices take the accounting qualification relevant to their apprenticeship level and can progress from an Intermediate, to Advanced, to a Higher Apprenticeship.
There are also Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships in Providing Financial Services, which involves working in the financial services sector and helping customers make transactions. Also new and developing Higher Apprenticeships can be found in Banking and Providing Financial Advice.
The film below features four former and current apprentices from the Financial Services sector talking about how an apprenticeship has benefited them and about the breadth of skills they developed during their apprenticeship.
Websites for vacancies in this sector:
- GAAPweb is the UK’s leading specialist job site for accounting and finance professionals.
- eFinancialCareers is the world’s leading financial services careers website.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed a 4 week course about Finance Fundamentals: Financial Services after the Banking Crisis.