The Professional Services sector is one of the biggest employers in the UK, but what exactly is professional services?
Essentially, professional services involves a range of different occupations that provide support to businesses in the form of advice or performing tertiary roles. According to PwC, one of the biggest professional services firms, they make up 15% of UK GDP (Gross Domestic Product), 14% of employment and 14% of exports.
Roles in the professional services sector
Helping clients manage, support and grow their businesses covers a wide array of areas. Some of the key parts of professional services include:
- Audit - reviewing the accounts of companies and organisations to ensure the validity and legality of their financial records
- Tax - advising businesses on how to be more tax-efficient or completing tax returns
- Actuarial - calculating and assessing future financial risks and making predictions using models and statistics
- Financial Advisory - advising businesses on investments and how to best manage their money
- Consulting - working with businesses to reduce costs or reorganise for maximum efficiency
Key professional services firms: The 'Big Four'
The overwhelming majority of Professional Services work is undertaken by four main firms, known as 'The Big Four'. These are Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC. Together they audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250 Index.
The professional services industry takes on a huge number of graduates from a range of degrees. All of the 'Big Four' recruit on a rolling basis, meaning there are no strict deadlines, but once positions are filled they are then closed so it is advisable to apply early, especially for competitive paths like consulting.
The real business of professional services is the expertise of their people, so a lot of emphasis is put on personal and professional development as you work, in order to make you a more useful, and marketable, member of the team. This is therefore a great career for ambitious and motivated graduates who are always looking to improve their skills.
Sound like the industry for you? Browse graduate jobs in the professional services sector and take the next step towards a career you'll love.