Working in the finance industry is a strong choice for anyone starting on their career path.
It’s a popular choice too, for example Goldman Sachs apparently received 250,000 job applications in 2016 (and that’s only students). Also consider that there are about 350,000 workers in the finance industry in New York city alone.
As the United States and Europe have moved away from manufacturing and physical goods, services have become a more important part of our national economies and banking and finance is a big part of that service boom. There are big upsides to this, as the industry helps our economies grow and creates jobs, but there are also downsides during recessions when globalisation and economic downturns mean that a countries economy is extremely sensitive to the financial markets of other countries across the globe.
But I don’t want to talk to you about the economy, I want to discuss your career.
When talking about careers in Finance, the typical roles that come to mind are the classics – trading, sales, accountancy and so on. But there are many alternative options when it comes to a career in finance, and I just want to discuss a few ideas.
Whether you’re looking at the global investment banks, the big mutual funds or the companies that provide periphery services like legal or consultancy, the finance industry has some huge companies in it who need strong human resources teams to service a large labour force.
The biggest companies take on thousands of new graduates every year, all of whom need training and mentorship. This is where the human resources department comes in – it’s their job to make sure the best people are hired and that the new recruits settle in well, are promoted when they deserve to be and are paid enough to not be poached by competitors.
Human Resources departments in financial institutions are essential for keeping operations running smoothly, and as a result, they’re a great choice for anyone looking to start a career in HR. Being a HR professional allows you to be part of the finance industry without actually being involved in finance in your day-to-day activities, and as with all jobs in the finance industry, the likelihood is you will get paid above average for your speciality purely because you work in a financial institution, where renumeration is generally higher.
As well as a huge pool of workers, another thing that the big (and small) financial institutions share in common are a huge dependence on technology to make money. All trading and sales activities are conducted on complex networks using bespoke technology and multiple applications to conduct and reconcile trades as well as communicating with colleagues. Tech errors can he hugely costly, which means IT specialists are paid well, and benefit from the fact that tech teams are often more relaxed when it comes to dress and conduct when compared to other, client facing, departments.
Working at a big financial institution isn’t the only option, however. Finance is a great area to choose for any budding entrepreneurs out there too. From large silicon valley startups like https://shapeshift.io/, who have capitalised on the recent emergence of crypt currency, to smaller applications like Statement-Matching.com, who claim to be the best vendor statement reconciliation software out there, there is innovation happening in every niche of the finance industry which creates room for entrepreneurs to make money.
Since the crash of 2006 the banking industry has been trying to rid itself of a tarnished reputation after the downturn in financial markets was blamed on the greed and ruthlessness of city traders looking to make a quick buck. Banking is almost a dirty word in some circles (and it was never a particularly clean one to begin with).
Since gaining this reputation there has been even more reputation on banks to clean up their image and not only act with more moral due diligence but also to be seen to be acting in a moral way.
This is why PR and media teams have become more and more important.
Making sure that a company’s press coverage is flattering, involving the firm in community/charity projects and creating appealing and trustworthy branding are just a few of the way that media and PR teams are hugely important in the role of making sure banking and financial institutions maintain a good reputation.
All of this make it a great place for a young grad looking to start a career – handling a lot of responsibility early on (and hopefully a larger wage slip too).
These are just a few ideas to areas to start or switch a career into Finance which aren’t directly related to banking or money markets, but which can provide some of the benefits of working in a large and growing industry. There are many other areas like legal, facilities and client services, but these are just a few to get you started.