Working in finance with a degree (or similar)

Having a relevant degree will allow you to become a professional in your chosen career.

Some professional-level financial roles are governed by financial regulations. To work in this field you will need excellent people and listening skills as well as analytical and research skills. You will need to be confident in preparing and explaining numbers. Other skills you will need to develop include report writing, decision making, customer service skills, strong negotiation and influencing skills, flexibility and discretion.

Example jobs

External auditor
Professionally qualified specialist independent accountants who review and approve the accounts of client businesses.

Bank manager
Working in either branch and retail management or in specialist banking services.

Accountant
Working in industry or commerce. Can work in financial or management accountancy, or a combination of the two.

Investment analyst
Studying the performance of companies and industries in order to advise people where to invest their money.

Actuary
Using mathematics, statistics and economics to judge risk, in order to solve business problems and to forecast long-term financial costs.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Pay level graph

Typical working conditions

  • You will mainly be based in an office or branch of a bank or building society.
  • You may have the opportunity to work overseas.
  • You may need to travel for meetings.

Qualifications needed

Many employers have graduate trainee programmes to help you gain professional status in your chosen career. Not all will require a finance based degree. They will often provide internal training and support you to gain the minimum qualifications required. For example, while you are working you could study for professional qualifications such as a Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, a Chartered Banker Institute Diploma in Investment Planning, an Institute of Financial Services Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers and Professional Certificate in Banking, a Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) Level 4 Investment Advice Diploma or a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship.

Career path

With experience and further qualifications, graduates can move into more specialist areas. You could move into a management position or even become a company director. You may decide to become self-employed, for example experienced financial advisers can become self-employed as an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), or become a specialist in a particular product area. You might work for an independent financial company, a broker, a larger investment firm, insurance firm or bank, a specialist pension consultancy, or as a self-employed adviser. Because of the regulatory aspects, most jobs are UK-based, although there are some positions available with offshore financial advisory groups and international banks.

Useful links

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TARGET jobs

Career advice, graduate jobs and schemes, internships and placements

Prospects

The UK's official graduate careers website

Pensions Management Institute