The finance sector is fiercely competitive, which can mean that getting even an entry level finance job can be a real challenge. The sector’s reputation of being highly paid attracts thousands of candidates monthly, both newly qualified and professionals looking for a career change. Even entry level positions tend to pay above the average salary threshold, making the finance sector continuously appealing. The industry encompasses many different divisions so there’s ample room for career progression and evolution once you get onto the career ladder.
A brief summary of how to get into finance would be:
- Education within a relevant degree can help but isn’t essential, there are also specific courses which can be undertaken
- Apprenticeships are a great way to get into the sector without a degree
- Sponsored degree programs can take some if not all of the financial burden of University fees
- School leavers programmes offer on-the-job training as well as studying for a relevant qualification
Keep reading for a full breakdown, advice and tips.
what routes can I take to get into finance?
Students wishing to get into the finance sector can start tailoring their education from an early stage by choosing subjects like maths and aiming to achieve solid grades (ideally at least Bs) across the board. It’s important not to discount subjects like English, since clear and professional communication is essential to roles that involve client interaction. Hiring managers will be looking for well rounded candidates; it is possible to get hired without a directly relevant degree, but an ability to work with numbers and an understanding of finance and economics will be essential. There are of course specific degrees designed to prepare students for a career in finance, and MBAs can be undertaken by graduates with experience looking to boost their knowledge and prospects in the finance industry.
A number of apprenticeships are available for those wishing to enter the field without completing a degree; these positions are highly competitive, and candidates must strive to demonstrate the right skills and knowledge in order to get a spot on a scheme. Apprenticeships aren’t as well paid as jobs in the industry but the company is using a lot of its resources to train the right candidates, plus they still provide a good path to future professional development. There are varying levels of apprenticeships that can then lead onto graduate schemes, and onwards, helping to secure qualifications and accreditation for specific roles like that of an accountant - including a management accountant and a part-qualified accountant.
sponsored degree programs.
The cost of a university course and resulting debt can be daunting for some individuals looking to enter the finance industry. In this scenario it’s worth looking into Sponsored Degree Programmes, they offer a combination of full-time university study and work placements by a sponsoring firm that pays for university fees. In many cases the firm will also provide a grant to help with living costs. The courses and universities will likely be limited and dictated by the sponsoring firm since they will be looking to get a well-qualified and needed professional to join them upon degree completion. This course of study will take a little longer than standard to complete, with a minimum stipulation of years worked post degree completion at the sponsoring firm, but it is well worth it if the cost of education is the main concern.
school leavers programme.
This type of programme will offer on-the-job learning and training and will be accompanied by study for a qualification that’s relevant to the finance industry. The programme length will vary depending on the employer providing it, though it’s generally expected to last between three to seven years. Entry requirements for these programmes also vary by employer with some overall guidance stating that most will want to see at least two A-level passes and may require specific subjects.
The finance sector, despite its aspirational image, has a lot of support and opportunities available for those who, for whatever reason, don’t take the traditional route into the industry. Explore the career hub to learn more about the roles available and how best to approach finding your dream job.