The financial sector is broad and covers many different types of organisations, each with a wide variety of roles. While the sector revolves around the management of money, many of the roles within it focus on working with people as much as with numbers.
The main sectors within it include:
Banking and investment – including a small number of large investment banks and a larger number of smaller investment companies. It is worth noting that insurance and pension companies have investment management roles within them.
Financial services – including insurance, reinsurance and pensions
Accountancy – which has different qualifications leading to different types of work including Management Accounting, Public Finance Accounting, Chartered Accounting and Tax. Chartered Accountancy is characterised by a small group of large companies who hire hundreds of students and graduates every year, balanced with a large number of smaller companies who may recruit just a few graduates in any year.
In recent years, the Finance sector in Northern Ireland has seen significant growth and there is currently a big demand for trainee Chartered Accountants. For Banking and Actuarial work, while there are some opportunities in Northern Ireland, there is a greater number of opportunities in Dublin and London. Other major cities for Finance include Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol.
|Accounting overivew||Accounting Technician||Chartered Accountant|
|Chartered Certified Accountant||Chartered Management Accountant||Chartered Public Finance Accountant|
|Senior Tax Professional/Tax Inspector||Tax Adviser|
Acturial Work, Pensions and Insurance:
|Actuarial overview||Insurance overview||Pensions overview|
|Actuary||Chartered Loss Adjuster||Insurance Account Manager|
||Insurance Risk Surveyor||Insurance Underwriter|
|Pension Scheme Manager||Pensions Consultant
Investment Banking and Corporate Financial Services:
|Banking, Investment and Financial Management overview||Financial Services overview|
|Corporate Investment Banker||Corporate Treasurer|
|Financial Manager||Operational Investment Banker|
|Financial Trader||Investment Analyst|
Retail Banking and Personal Finance:
|Retail Banker||Financial Adviser|
While a relevant degree can be of benefit, particularly in Accounting and Actuarial work where the degree can provide exemptions against professional qualifications, the big employers are keen to recruit from all disciplines and they provide a considerable amount of training on-the-job.
These big employers tend to specify that candidates meet high academic standards demonstrated through both UCAS points and degree classification. Some employers have relaxed these criteria recently e.g. PwC have dropped their UCAS points limit and EY have dropped their degree classification limit, but many of the other employers are still holding on to these entry requirements.
The big employers operate a graduate pipeline, engaging first year students with Insight programmes, penultimate year students with Placements and Internships and final year students with Graduate Schemes. These opportunities are well advertised through MyFuture and other student and graduate websites.
To make yourself a strong candidate:
Northern Ireland: (Plus key global employers e.g. Citi, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC)
|Augentius||BDO Northern Ireland||Baker Tilly Mooney Moore|
|First Derivatives||FSCom||Goldblatt McGuigan|
|Grant Thornton||Harbinson Mullholland||RSM|
UK and Global:
|PwC||Willis Towers Watson||Morgan Stanley|
On Campus resources:
Advertised roles: Opportunities in this sector are well advertised on MyFuture.
Unadvertised roles & networking: While opportunities are advertised, competition is fierce. Networking with alumni and potential employers is highly recommended to build commercial awareness and stand out from the crowd.
Job search websites specific to Northern Ireland include:
On Campus resources:
Useful sites for finding student and graduate jobs in this sector in UK, Ireland and further afield:
Professional qualifications in Accounting, Actuarial & Investment are recognised globally and many of the key employers are large international organisations with opportunities around the world. Home students who want to work overseas are advised to apply locally and then move once they are employed by the company.
International students may find it easier to apply for opportunities in their home countries and then move.
Prospects industry insights and Gradireland sector career guides will help you to search for employment in this employment sector.
Prospects: Accountancy, banking and finance
Further information resources are available at the Student Guidance Centre Hub (Opening hours: Mon- Fri 09:00- 17:00), including free copies of Gradireland, TargetJobs and Prospects guides plus self-help guides and employer brochures. The Student Guidance Centre Hub has free wifi, tea and coffee.
This information is obtained from a variety of sources, including the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), Prospects, Gradireland and relevant professional organisations and other appropriate resources, as available.
We endeavour to ensure that our online resources are current and contain relevant information. However, we cannot accept responsibility for the contents of external websites.
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