Why is the banking and finance sector the most popular amongst the brightest graduates today? And why are applications are as high as ever? It's all down to these 5 reasons why banking and finance remains the top sector of choice amongst the brightest.
1. It offers a fast-paced, continuously challenging career
The global balance of business, finance and economics shifts every day which is what makes it so fast-paced, varied and keeps everyone on their toes. The adrenalin of deals (whether you're the client or broker) and the buzz of the trading floor and the pace of change - for the better or worse - means it can provide a highly stimulating career.
2. Professional training & development opportunities
Working in established banks and businesses such as Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Citi gives you the opportunity to benefit from structured training and development opportunities which have been tried and tested throughout the banks' long history. At the same time, depending on the route you take, you'll also be able to obtain a professional qualification as you advance in your career. With training and development one of the key characteristics that Bright Network members look for in their career, it's little wonder that this sector remains a top draw.
3. Salary and benefits
The average starting salary for a graduate in Investment Banking is £45,000 - double the graduate average. Big banks usually offer a wealth of other benefits including private health care, insurance, subsidised travel, food and gym membership. Great benefits are not just the preserve of the banking and finance sector, but what makes the remuneration in this industry stand out is the opportunity for substantial and lucrative bonuses. While on one hand bonuses are a political hot potato, they are ultimately a major draw for many a candidate and a key incentive for why so many people work exceedingly long hours during the week - and weekend.
In a report published last year, 15 leading investment banks hired almost 900 fewer graduates than had been expected at the beginning of the recruitment period - thus highlighting the importance of applying early
Source: High Fliers Graduate Market 2013
4. International travel & working abroad
With opportunities for international travel an important check box on many a graduate's career wish list, it's no wonder that this inherently global industry is a popular choice. In this sector, you could find yourself working in the financial centre of another continent - from New York to Singapore, Hong Kong to Tokyo. And if you're lucky, you might even get to do your initial graduate training in one of these cities. JP Morgan is one such firm that sends all its new graduate recruits to New York for their global banking training.
5. Long term career plans
Having a well regarded financial institution on your CV is looked upon favourably by employers - and not just by those within the sector. If you have managed to get through a tough application process and spend a good few years excelling with a reputable company, then future employers will want you in their organisation. Furthermore, the structured graduate training and the knowledge of the sector are well-regarded. So whether you decide you want to move into a different industry, move laterally within the banking and finance industry (e.g. from banking into private equity) or harbour a goal to set up a business on your own, your experience will stand you in good stead. Some of the UK's leading entrepreneurs, including Ed Wray, co-founder of BetFair and Andrew Mullinger, co-founder of Funding Circle, both started their careers in banking.