The Most Rewarding Finance Jobs in London [2021]

About Finance Jobs in London

Finance is a broad industry with many different roles and career paths. Depending on your skill set and experience, it can be quite lucrative, too. Finance refers to all activities that involve money management — borrowing, lending, investing, budgeting, and saving for both individuals and organisations. Sharp analytical skills, good attention to detail, and good verbal and math proficiencies are a few of the essential qualities financial employees must possess.

Duties in Financial Services Jobs

Financial services workers typically work with investments and money management for both individuals and organisations. They can help manage financial portfolios for shareholding and trading, establish a savings or retirement plan for someone, keep financial records of businesses and their transactions, and much more.

For more experienced roles, duties generally include delivering strategic financial analyses and preparing budgets while also conducting more operational tasks, such as reconciling transactions, processing invoices, and managing financial records.

Types of Careers in Finance

To help you decide what financial career path to take, we’ve listed the principal financial careers available in the UK today. We’ve also included the general duties of each so you’d know what to expect and prepare for.

Accounting

There are many available accountant jobs in London in firms of different sizes. They play a vital role in maintaining the finances of both individuals and companies. Accountants can work within firms or independently, and they update financial records to ensure their company or client upholds legal obligations while appropriately managing funds. Typically, their duties include:

  • Keeping records of incoming and outgoing transactions
  • Auditing financial budgets
  • Generating tax reports
  • Writing financial reports

Besides the typical audit, assurance, and advisory roles, corporate finance jobs in London have more complex roles within accounting firms and are responsible for buying stocks and bonds. Furthermore, there is a branch called forensic accounting, which is an investigative role that involves determining and gathering evidence in financial fraud cases.

Banking

The banking sector is one of the biggest employers in the field of finance. Through banks, individuals manage their money, take loans, open savings accounts, and put mortgages on their properties. It could be a fruitful finance career path, with an average salary in London of about £93,900 a year.

Within the banking career, you can enter personal banking, corporate banking, or investment banking. In personal or retail banking, banks provide loans, savings accounts, credit cards, and other similar financial products. In corporate banking, these activities are available for businesses rather than individual consumers. Lastly, investment banking jobs in London involve working as a middle man for investors and corporations looking to grow their business.

Although the duties of a banker depend on their specific role in the banking system, their basic duties that we’d like to point out include:

  • Helping customers open and maintain accounts
  • Providing information on different opportunities and bank policies
  • Advising clients on security measures
  • Providing financial advice and resolving issues
  • Selling bank services to potential customers
Investment

If you choose to pursue a job in the investment field, your primary role will be helping large companies and individuals manage the investment cycle and assist in purchasing and selling investments.

Investment is one of the most lucrative jobs in financial services, especially if you’re highly skilled and experienced. Many organisations look for advice from experienced brokers or investment management firms. That said, a skilled investment consultant can earn up to £98,000 in London.

One of the typical positions in this area is being a financial advisor, and they are in charge of:

  • Determining short and long-term financial goals for clients
  • Developing a budget
  • Giving investment advice
  • Assisting with taxes and ensuring law compliance (in some positions)
Insurance

Working in this division of financial jobs in London means that you’re responsible for insuring individuals and businesses against financial losses in case of accidents, death, or other specific contingencies. Those who join this field often work for large insurance companies, and you could be in various positions related to insurance, such as sales and marketing, customer support, and as an actuary.

In these financial services jobs, there are two primary areas: investment and underwriting. Investment insurance generates additional revenue by strategically investing “leftover” money after clients have received their total payout from claims. Underwriting, alternatively, includes evaluating the client’s risk exposure and determining the price of premiums needed to insure the client.

The main duties of insurance agents include:

  • Communicating with clients
  • Analysing risk to estimate the value of the premiums
  • Assisting clients and resolving issues
  • Selling insurance policies to potential clients
Financial Planning

Another finance career path is financial planning, which focuses on financial advisory and support. It constitutes meeting with clients and managing their finances. For example, during the kick-off meeting, clients provide detailed information about their income, debts, monthly expenses, investment holdings, tax liabilities, insurance plans, and similar information. Afterwards, the planner develops a financial plan so the client can earn money on various types of investments.

Finance analyst jobs in London are quite sought after, and their main duties include:

  • Evaluating company expenditure
  • Creating budget corrections
  • Devising business plans and strategies
  • Estimating profits and losses
  • Drafting financial reports
Financial Management

Another potential position in this field is being a financial manager. Finance manager jobs in London entail complex analysis and strategic guidance to clients and colleagues to foster business decisions. Some of the basic obligations in this position include:

  • Handling financial information
  • Monitoring cash flow and estimating future trends
  • Devising long-term financial strategies and business plans
  • Analysing competition
  • Assessing possibilities for cost reduction and increasing revenue
  • Managing financial and accounting systems
  • Managing budgets and fund allocations
  • Communicating with all relevant stakeholders, like auditors, solicitors, banks
  • Generating financial reports

Work Environment in Finance Jobs in the UK

Finance jobs typically entail working in an office. However, with the rise of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several workers in the finance industry now have the opportunity to work from the comfort of their home. Some of them may still be asked to report to the office from time to time, though, especially those who are in finance director jobs in London.

Injuries and Illnesses

The responsibility of being in charge of a client’s finances can be stressful at times, especially when financial decisions have to be made to prevent the loss of revenue. So, stress-induced mental and physical conditions are common among finance administrator jobs in London.

Additionally, working in an office induces a sedentary lifestyle, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and depression and anxiety.

Work Schedules

Although a lot of industries are now offering flexible work schedules, the financial sector has remained with the nine to five schedule and a 40-hour workweek. However, if you prefer a lesser workload, you can find plenty of part-time finance jobs in London that you’ll enjoy, especially if you’re just starting out.

Generally, longer hours are not unusual for this profession, and you can expect strict deadlines and heavy workloads.

How to Land Finance Jobs in London

There are several qualifiers for a career in finance. A general education and further licensing and certification are required, depending on which sector you choose to specialise in. Regardless, there are some basic skills that are uniform for all finance careers.

Important Qualities to Land Financial Services Jobs

If you want a job in finance, here are some of the essential qualities that you must possess.

Math and numerical skills

A passion for complex math calculations and numbers is a must in this job. How else would you estimate the financial values and handle the numbers of your clients?

Analytical skills

As a financial strategist, analyst, advisor or any other similar role, you need to evaluate various factors and information to determine what action is profitable.

Decision-making skills

Working in finance involves making a lot of decisions, such as whether to invest or sell shares. It doesn’t matter whether you are a junior accountant or you hold a head of finance job in London, finance workers make decisions that financially impact their clients.

Detail-oriented

Every detail in finance matters, and it’s important to handle it with care. Accountants can’t miscalculate final numbers. As the saying goes, every cent counts, and finance workers need to make sure they are all there to ensure transparency and avoid legal obligations.

Communication skills

The ability to communicate with all relevant stakeholders, from clients to colleagues, plays an important part in the daily job of a financial employee. Communicating effectively with clients fosters strong relationships, trust, and client satisfaction.

Computer literacy

Finally, using software for financial data analysis or even just day-to-day tasks is very common in any financial position. Entry-level or junior finance jobs in London include training on software the company uses. You don’t have to be an IT specialist, but keeping up-to-date with the recent software and how to use them is vital in this field. Learning how to use them will make your work more efficient. Not to mention, much of the work is done on digital systems as traditional systems are becoming more and more obsolete.

Education

For entry-level finance jobs in London, you need at least a bachelor’s degree. What type depends on the path you wish to take. In general, degrees in accounting, economics, business, finance, math, or statistics make you eligible for a career in this field.

All of these programs equip you with ample knowledge about financial management and new technologies for financial operations. Obtaining a master’s degree is not obligatory, but it can definitely increase your expertise and chances for better employment.

Also, dedicated graduate schemes offered by many companies provide an easier path for a graduate to land finance jobs in London and across the country. Many of these placements end up with full-time positions for the long term.

Some postgraduate programs provide an opportunity to specialise in some areas of the industry. For example, you can enrol in an MSc in actuarial science or obtain a PhD in banking.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Depending on the sector you want to work in, some finance jobs require certifications. For example, to land trade finance jobs in London, you would need a CTFP (Certified Trade Finance Professional) certificate from the ICC Academy. Other certifications are provided by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Advancement

Even though you are just starting in trainee finance jobs in London, there are plenty of opportunities to be promoted to higher positions. Within a few years, with the right combination of skills, experience, and hard work, you may even qualify for managerial positions. These positions are highly competitive, and the responsibility is high, but they come with higher average salaries.

Finance Jobs Salary in London

The average salary in London often varies from the rest of the country for many positions in the financial sector. The median annual salary for a finance manager in London is £48,563. On the other hand, finance assistant jobs in London pay a lesser yearly salary. For reference, the average salary of finance assistants is around £26,000 per year.

In general, those in entry-level positions earn about £33,000 yearly, while the top 10% of earners have around £69,000 per year. If you work in the health sector, such as in the NHS, finance jobs in London can pay an average yearly salary of around £21,000. So, the salary also depends on which industry you work for.

Through experience and progression in your career, salaries generally increase. Statistics show that the average yearly salary across all financial services jobs in London is £41,847.

Job Outlook

In 2019, data from the UK Parliament showed that the finance sector contributed £132 billion to the UK economy. This amount constitutes 6.9% of the UK’s total economic output, and half of this contribution came from London.

In Q1 of 2020, there were 1.1 million jobs in this industry in the UK. That’s 3.2% of the total jobs in the country and over 750,000 people working in finance jobs in London.

Some of the biggest employers in the UK are banks, accounting companies, and insurers. The famous ‘big four’ accounting houses employing many Brits are Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte. Some additional employers in investment banking in the UK are:

  • Allianz
  • Aviva
  • AIG
  • Admiral Group
  • AXA
  • Direct Line Insurance Group
  • Liverpool Victoria
  • RSA Insurance Group
  • Standard Life

Most of these companies are international. Additionally, finance graduate jobs in London would be a great place to start. Almost a third of all accounting and finance graduates in the UK work as chartered accountants (31%), and financial analysts and advisors are the second most popular occupation (10%).

According to the latest available statistics, only 5.8% of finance graduates are unemployed. Notably, most graduates work in the HR, finance, and business (56.1%) sectors. Those who can’t find a job in financial services seek contract jobs elsewhere. Some other options to consider are PR, marketing (3.2% of graduates), or numerical or secretarial clerks (24.6%). Whether it’s in small businesses or large corporations, financial positions are available across all industries. On top of that, you can work as a financial consultant.

Stay vigilant for new job opportunities since there are many temporary finance jobs in London opening up all the time. Temporary positions can be a good way to gain experience and familiarise yourself with businesses that can hire you permanently. Like other jobs, getting your foot in the door is the most important step to launching your career.

FAQ

The majority of those in financial services enter the field upon completing university or by getting an internship while studying. Obtaining a degree in finance, business, economics, or accounting is a necessary first step. You can then apply for entry-level positions to get your foot in the door. Then, you can get certifications to advance in your career.

Finance is a lucrative career, but salaries vary depending on which field you specialise in. In the UK, some of the highest-paying jobs in this sphere are financial analysts and investment bankers. For reference, financial analysts earn an average yearly salary range of £69,940 to £81,600, and investment bankers have an average yearly salary ranging from £56,620 to £79,020.

According to the latest statistics, the following positions are the most in demand in the UK right now:

  • Accountant: According to the forecasts, the UK will need around 80,000 accountants by 2050.
  • Financial Analyst: They examine the markets, stocks, bonds, financial trends, and based on all these information, devise strategies and policies.
  • Investment Banker: In this role, primary tasks revolve around selling and buying assets in the market to raise funds. This is the highest-paid position in finance in the UK.
  • Insurance: By size, the UK insurance market comes third globally. Finance graduates often start here as actuaries or similar positions.

It’s always important to focus on the combination requirements. Having adequate education, such as a bachelor’s degree, and doing internship during university will let employers know that you’re knowledgeable and skilled enough to perform the duties in finance jobs in London even with no experience.

Also, those with little to no experience can always apply for entry-level positions to get started in finance. From there, you can gain experience and skills and move up the financial career ladder.

If you want to climb the corporate ladder faster and reach those higher-paying positions, you would need hard work. However, having good education and certifications will help you in your career. Many finance jobs in London offer the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to launch your career.

Some of the most common careers that offer high rewards are:

  • Accounting
  • Investment banking
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial consulting