In the United Kingdom (UK), finance is one of the most sought-after and rewarding career categories, with 1.08 million financial services jobs in the UK in Q1 2022, 3.0% of all jobs. The competitiveness of the industry means that having a degree or qualification in finance is essential. Many people aspire to work in finance but do not know where to begin, or what qualifications are necessary. In this blog post, we will take you through the qualifications required to pursue a career in finance in the UK.
Degree in Finance, Business, or Economics
A degree in finance,business, or economics is a vital qualification for any career in finance. Finance degrees are usually the most relevant, as they offer modules in accounting, financial reporting, risk management, and asset valuation. Degrees in economics tend to be more theoretical; however, they can be a stepping stone for future qualifications and are also relevant in some areas of finance. Undertaking a degree in a related field will provide candidates with a strong foundation of knowledge, including practical and theoretical skills necessary for working in financial services.
Having a professional qualification will enhance a candidate's CV, showing that they have relevant expertise in the finance world. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants(ACCA) and The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments(CISI) are the most commonly recognised qualifications. The ACCA focuses on accounting practices, tax laws, and corporate law, while CISI offers modules on financial planning, investments, and wealth management. Other professional qualifications that can be pursued include the CFA(Chartered Financial Analyst) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). Choosing the right qualification to help progress in your career will depend on the specific area of finance that interests you.
Gaining practical experience through internships or work experience placements is essential for a finance career. Work experience is likely to make job applicants more attractive to potential employers, providing opportunities to acquire specific skills, including analytic reasoning, data interpretation, and leadership skills. Even if a qualification has been attained, recruiters tend to look for work experience to verify an applicant's competency level. Volunteering and taking on projects within an organisation can also help candidates acquire skills to stand out among other job applicants.
Industry-specific certifications can boost any individual's CV, especially when applying for a job that requires certification. For example, achieving a qualification in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) can help candidates stand out when applying for the role of compliance officer in a finance company. Other certifications that can help enhance an individual's experience include certifications in financial modelling, data analytics, and risk assessment such as FRM (Financial Risk Management).
Embarking on a career in finance in the UK requires excellent qualifications and training. As a qualified professional, having the correct qualifications not only increases job prospects but also enhances credibility in this competitive industry. Whether it's a Bachelor's, Master's degree, or a professional or industry-specific certification, the effort invested in gaining these qualifications is well worth it in the long term. It is, therefore, essential to choose the right qualification path to progress and genuinely enjoy a career in finance to reap its rewards.
If you’re searching for a role within the Finance Industry, take a look over on our available finance jobs.