Moving Into Finance? Here’s What You Need to Know


With Britain’s financial sector currently believed to supply the job market with over a million positions, there are plenty of people knocking on the doors of the country’s major financial institutions looking for work.

The financial sector has numerous types of career, and there’s no single, overarching skill set which is applicable to every job in this field. But there are some overarching themes when it comes to skills. Whether it’s an ability to perform basic numeracy tasks or a wider knowledge of the commercial banking scene and investment vehicles like stocks and shares, your career in finance can certainly be bolstered by doing your research. Here’s how.

Basic numeracy skills

While to the outside world the finance sector seems like a place where calculators are everywhere, and numbers line the walls, this industry is actually about much more than maths. But without that key skill, you may struggle to apply your other skills.

Say you’re selling an investment vehicle to a discerning business client. If you can’t make accurate and speedy calculations about the potential profit to the client, the potential investor might quickly outsmart you and make the assumption that your firm is not a competent provider of financial services.

Knowledge of investment vehicles

Whether you’re working in research and need to know how different investment types intersect with your employer’s long-term goals or you’re a client-facing advisor giving out information on investment types, almost every financial services employee will need some knowledge of the different investment vehicles out there.

It’s worth finding a copy of a good explanatory book which points out the differences between major types – such as stocks and shares, exchange-traded funds, foreign exchange pairs and more. Reading up on some trading tips if you want to learn about CFDs, meanwhile, is also a good move, as it will help you to both increase your own understanding and also to advise your clients on the best investment vehicles for them more effectively.

Commercial awareness

You’ll also need to have a lot of commercial awareness in order to surge ahead in the financial industry. Just like other private businesses, firms in the private sector need to sell products in order to profit and stay afloat. Whether the product is a derivative, an exchange-traded fund, a share or something else altogether, the same still applies.

As an employee of a financial firm, you’ll need to be able to identify when a customer may be willing to spend money and then match them to a relevant product which will reap profits for the firm. If you struggle with this sort of commercial decision-making, the high pressure of the finance sector may not be right for you.

Bringing it all together

The finance industry is complicated, large and multifaceted – and the experience of one worker in this field is unlikely to match the experience of someone else. But most finance industry workers would agree that there are some common denominators when it comes to building the knowledge and skill reserves required to forge a career in the sector.

Whether it’s numeracy skills, a keen commercial awareness or the ability to range confidently over a variety of investment types, there’s plenty to know no matter what subsector of the financial world you work in.



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