If you have a logical and analytical mindset, a keen attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure, a career in the finance sector could be for you.

It’s a sector that employs over 1.1 million people in the UK and is an attractive career route due to high wages and demand for skilled workers. It’s a global industry with plenty of opportunities for career development, continued training and international travel whilst offering job security and a balanced lifestyle.

Here in Stockport, there’s a range of different routes into the finance sector – from local accountancy firms to retail and investment banks and building societies, as well as with insurance brokers, mortgage providers and finance consultancies. Plus, most businesses will have some need for an internal finance function and offer roles in accounts processing, payroll, credit control, sales and purchase ledger through to Finance Manager.

From traditional accountancy jobs through to investment banking and financial analysis, there’s more to a career in finance than just being good at Maths. Local employers will be on the look out for relevant qualifications, advanced technical skills and strong business acumen.

Labour Market Information

In recent times, the finance sector has been affected by Brexit, Covid-19 and digital transformation. Although Brexit was anticipated and the pandemic clearly wasn’t, both have forced people and businesses to change the way they bank, make payments and transact with others.

Customers were already demanding more choice, flexibility, personalisation and self-service due to an always-on, 247 way of life and doing business. The past few years have only accelerated these trends, forcing organisations small and large to transform and adapt to new technologies and ways of doing things.

From accountancy and payroll software to real-time reporting, challenger banks to payment apps, a tech-first approach also means new types of jobs are being created and there’s growing demand – locally and nationally – for innovation and new skills.

Starting Salary

£11.44 per hour or £17,000
per annum

Typical Salary Range

£26,000 – £83,000+
per annum

Working Hours

37 to 39 hours per week, between 8am and 6pm

accounting lmi infographic

LMI Infographic from GMACS

GMACS have produced a range of helpful infographics to summarise careers in the Retail sector and the current employment landscape in Greater Manchester.

You can view the full infographic and click on the links for more information by selecting the button below to view as a PDF.

Working in Accountancy, Banking & Finance

Careers in finance include jobs working in:

  • Accounting
  • Banking and finance
  • Financial Planning
  • Insurance
  • Investments and Pensions
  • Tax

To pursue a career in the finance sector, you will need to be able to demonstrate skills like:

  • Interest in finance and numeracy
  • Good problem-solving skills and inquisitive mind
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Confidence and communication skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Analytical skills
  • Decision Making
  • Logical and methodical
  • Technical skills

There are so many different types of roles available in the finance sector, including:

  • Accountant and Accounting Technician
  • Actuary
  • Auditor
  • Bank manager
  • Banking or Financial Advisor
  • Bookkeeper
  • Economist
  • Financial Customer Service Advisor
  • Insurance Broker or Account Manager
  • Loss adjusters and Underwriters
  • Investment Analyst
  • Mortgage Advisor
  • Pensions Advisor
  • Stockbroker
  • Tax Advisor or Tax Inspector

Don’t forget that all businesses will have some need for an internal finance function and offer positions for like:

  • Accounts or Finance Administrator
  • Sales or Purchase Ledger Clerks
  • Credit controller or debt collection advisor
  • Payroll Officer or Coordinator
  • Finance Manager or Director

You may also find finance-related jobs working in areas such as procurement, project management, school business management, company secretary, vehicle leasing, government revenues or public spending.

If you specialise in recruitment, you could work ‘in-house’ – helping to recruit new colleagues to join the company you work for, or in a recruitment agency where you’ll help other businesses to find the staff they need.  

Similarly, if you specialise in L&D (Learning and Development), you could work as an in-house trainer or join an external training consultancy. You may also consider related roles in career coaching or occupational psychology for example. 

You can start your career in the finance sector at entry-level with GCSE passes in Maths and English. Other roles may require more advanced qualifications at Level 3 (like AAT, A-Levels, T-Levels, NVQs or Apprenticeships) or even at degree-level, depending on the level of job you want to start out at.

For a career in accountancy for example, many firms will offer training contracts and apprenticeships whilst you gain your qualifications. Some prefer you to gain hands-on experience and work your way up through the firm, learning about their clients and unique ways of working. For banking and investment firms on the other hand, graduate schemes and internships are more common.

Whilst specialist degrees in Maths, Accountancy and Finance, Economics and related subjects will always give you an advantage, many other degree subjects which demonstrate high-level numerical and analytical skills will be accepted too.

For non-graduates and non-graduates, career prospects are plentiful in the finance sector. Whilst there are defined career paths in most areas (from cashier to bank manager, from accounts technician to Accountant or auditor, from finance administrator to financial controller for example), there’s also plenty of opportunities to diversify along the way.

You may choose to specialise in a particular sector or area (be it retail or risk management!) or working with a certain type of companies. There’s plenty of overlap between the roles and industries available so you won’t close any doors by choosing one over the other and changing your mind later. Businesses in all sectors require people with finance skills so choosing a career or investing in qualifications in this arena will stand you in good stead for a range of fast-track career routes.

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