4 questions to ask before considering a financial services career

Financial services is one of the world’s most important industries. These firms play an important role in the UK’s economy as they employ more over 2.2 million people, which equates to more than 7% of the UK workforce . The growth that financial services firms experience every year means that more and more jobs are becoming available in the sector in a wide variety of roles, with a large number of prospects.
As with all industries however, there are pros and cons. Working in such a fast-paced, high-pressure sector means that you should think carefully about whether it is right for you. You may have all the requisite skills, but having the personality and value set to match is equally as important. By asking yourself the following questions you can help decipher whether a career in financial services is for you:

Am I prepared to work long hours?
A career in financial services can be very rewarding, but the rewards do not come easily. You’ll often be required to work late in order to meet important targets and deadlines. It is not uncommon for financial services employees to work more than 40 hours per week, and many who are eager to impress regularly work beyond this. If you expect to work typical 9 – 5 days, a job in this sector might not be for you.

Am I resilient?
Working in a high-pressure environment can mean that you are surrounded by people who are stressed. As a result, you might be faced with difficult characters who are unintentionally short with you or uncooperative. To deal with this kind of behaviour, you will need to have an inner strength that enables you to remain personally unaffected by negative attitudes, so that your work does not suffer. If you think this behaviour is likely to get the better of you, you should work on your personal resilience before embarking upon a financial services career. Alternatively, if you can rise above your co-workers’ attitudes, you might just have the ability to flourish in the sector.

Am I competitive?
As the number of firms within the sector continues to grow, so does the competition between them. Financial services firms are equally competitive internally as employees vie to secure promotions and bonuses. Some people can thrive in this kind of environment, spurring them to achieve better results; yet for others, it can be off-putting and detrimental to their productivity. If you think that competing with your co-workers could be a positive driving factor for you, financial services could be for you.

Am I motived by money?
In financial services, there is potential to earn a higher than average salary, often with annual bonuses too – but only if you are prepared to put in the hard work. Assessing whether you are motivated by financial rewards is essential before beginning such a high-pressured career. Think about whether the remuneration is enough to keep you motivated to work potentially longer hours, perhaps weekends too, and compete with your colleagues to achieve results. But remember, money is not usually a sustainable motivator – you’re unlikely to stick around for long if this is your only deciding factor, so it’s also worth thinking about how non-financial rewards will keep you working hard.

If you’re thinking about beginning your career in financial services, speak to Tiger Recruitment’s City office to discuss what you’re looking for.

About the author: Kat Martyn is Head of Tiger Recruitment’s City office. Having spent over ten years recruiting for UK financial services firms, she prides herself on matching exceptional candidates to London’s top investment banks, asset management firms and private equity companies.

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