Careers Service Occupations

Banking & Finance

Banking and Finance

About

Investment banking is a competitive sector, but graduate opportunities are increasing.

High Fliers predict there will be 1,920 graduate vacancies in investment banking in 2016.

The most generous salaries in 2016 are those on offer from the investment banks. efinancial careers reported that in the first few years of your career, you could expect your salary to rise from £45,000 to £80,000. 

Careers advice

The following websites give advice about careers in banking and finance:

Prospects offer an overview of the UK finance sector

Videos and case studies

Careerplayer offers careers videos on a range of sectors including banking and investment.

Industry news

Sources of banking and investment news include the Financial Times. See also the FT Adviser and other FT publications. These include Financial Adviser, Investment Adviser, Money Management and Special Reports.

Other websites and publications include Bloomberg.comThe EconomistReutersThe Banker and The Motley Fool.

Professional bodies

They represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates and development for people already in the sector. 

Follow these associations on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Banking

Investment

Financial advice

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers.

Regulatory bodies

Prudential Regulation Authority supervises UK banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and investment firms. Financial Conduct Authority regulates the financial services industry in the UK, including financial advisers.

Making contacts

Making contacts is key for success in this sector, as explained in How to network your way to an investment banking job (TARGETjobs). 

You can gain insight into roles and arrange work experience through networking and speculative applications

You could start with:

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, following employers and finding opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other events give valuable insight and opportunity to make useful contacts. 

Many big employers and professional bodies run events, eg J.P.MorganGoldman SachsMorgan Stanley and Citi.

More help finding and researching employers is available on the Finding Jobs tab.

For more events listings see Careers Service events or External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in the following sectors:

Or see our occupations pages for more options.

Roles

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Commodity broker

Corporate investment banker

Financial adviser

Financial trader

Investment analyst

Investment fund manager

Operational investment banker

Retail banker

Stockbroker

Skills employers look for

  • an understanding of and interest in financial markets and the banking industry
  • strong numerical and analytical skills
  • excellent relationship building and communication skills
  • confidence in making decisions and having significant responsibility
  • the ability to cope with pressure and high levels of stress

Gaining Experience

Finding a job in banking and investment is extremely competitive.

The majority of successful applicants to investment banking graduate schemes have completed a relevant internship. They often do this with the same company.

Most large financial firms advertise summer internships early in the first semester. They are usually aimed at undergraduate students in and above their second year of study. 

Applications open early around August, with closing dates usually between October and January. Investment banking internships open as early as July and close between October and November. 

Smaller employers in insurance, investment or financial advisory firms may not always advertise work experience. You may need to contact them with a speculative approach.

Several recruiters are now offering ‘insight days’ to first year undergraduates. These tend to be for one to five days during Easter and/or Christmas holidays. They are a good way to find out more about a company and get the edge for internship applications.

TARGETjobs offers further advice on internships in banking and investment.

Advertised opportunities

See Internships, placements and shadowing for additional sources of vacancies.

Insight programmes

In the North East

Santander Work Shadowing Scheme

This is a two-week unpaid work shadowing programme for Newcastle University students. It is based within the Santander branch on campus. 

Placements are available to start all year round, including vacations. Places on the programme are limited.

To apply, email your CV and covering letter, explaining why you are interested in the scheme. Tell them about your availability between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (and any weeks you will be unavailable). 

Applications should go to Andrew Black, University Relationship Branch Manager, Santander Universities (Newcastle University).

Voluntary opportunities

Oxfam Finance Office in Newcastle offers voluntary work to students through Go Volunteer in the Students’ Union. See Volunteering for more opportunities.

North East Graduate Directory

The North East Graduate Directory has details of companies you can contact for work experience, eg Newcastle Building Society.

Speculative approach

Speculative applications are when you contact employers directly, ie not in response to an advertised vacancy.

Most large financial companies and institutions such as banks will advertise opportunities on thier own website. 

Smaller or independent organisations, such as investment/asset management firms may not have formal internship schemes. They could be approached on a more direct basis. Always check for a careers section on employer websites and follow their instructions.

It is helpful to:

  • search for companies using the employer directories under the Finding Jobs tab
  • research employers, using company profiles, lists of business directories and databases
  • use social media to find and connect with employers, particularly through LinkedIn

Other ways to gain experience 

You can also gain experience by:

  • looking out for employer events - see About for details
  • entering competitions, which are useful for developing skills and connecting with employers. 
  • becoming active in student societies, eg acting as treasurer
  • thinking about part-time work. Finding a part-time job in finance or banking is less likely; however, working in other sectors can help you to develop relevant skills.

Finding Jobs

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use these resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Careers Service: Vacancies Online - graduate vacancies in the North East, UK and overseas. Log in to sign up for personalised email alerts.

Occupational profiles (Prospects) link to employers and vacancy sources for specific jobs.

Vacancy sites

If you want to work for a smaller investment bank or investment firm, being on LinkedIn can help. Recruitment agencies sometimes use LinkedIn to search for graduates interested in working in this sector.

Specialist recruitment agencies

There are many recruitment agencies specialising in city-based roles. They are often looking for candidates with at least three to six months' experience. Examples include:

Agency Central: Graduate Recruitment Agencies Directory lists specialist recruitment agencies by sector. For more resources, see recruitment agencies.

Finding companies

General lists of sector employers are on websites such as Top Employers and Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.

Advice on applying for jobs in this sector

Use the following resources for advice on:

The following links will also give you some great tips and help:

  • Vault – US-based careers information site, including company reviews
  • Finance Glossary – online dictionary of financial terms

Competitions

Taking part in competitions is a fantastic way to enhance your CV.

It can raise your profile with employers and help you gain valuable skills while having fun. You could also win a cash prize, an internship or even a chance to travel abroad. 

There are lots of national and international competitions open to students.  

eFinancialCareers list seven competitions that will help get you a job in banking and finance.  Deadlines are throughout the year, so check each competition they list for up-to-date information.

See Awards & Competitions for details of other external competitions