Find out how you could fit into the UK finance sector, which makes a vital contribution to the economy and employs more than two million people
Employment opportunities in accountancy, banking and finance can be grouped into:
For examples of specific job roles in this sector, see graduate jobs in accountancy and finance.
The 'big four' accountancy and professional services firms are:
Among retail banks and building societies, employers include well-known high street brands such as:
In investment banking, large companies include:
The main insurance companies include:
Many of the bigger financial companies are multinational and so opportunities exist to work overseas, although this may depend on having additional skills or competences, such as languages.
In the UK, there are far more small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) than large companies and this type of employer provides good prospects for graduates, although recruitment, selection and training arrangements may not be as formal.
In the financial sector, SMEs provide support for professional training and development, and are likely to offer a more varied experience of work.
Graduate jobs in accountancy exist within charities and not-for-profit organisations, but the majority of opportunities in this sector are in profit-generating businesses.
Graduates working in accountancy, banking and finance professions can expect:
To find out more about typical salaries and working conditions in your chosen career, see types of jobs.
Financial and related professional services contribute around 12% of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) and account for more than 7% of total employment, according to a 2015 report by TheCityUK, an organisation that represents the industry. Banking and insurance are the biggest employers.
While the sector is widely perceived to be dominated by London, the same report showed that two thirds of the 2.1 million jobs in finance and professional services are elsewhere in the country. Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham are among the other hotspots, so there's no need to restrict your job search to the capital.
Damage to the industry and its reputation following the banking crash had an impact on graduate recruitment and students' perceptions of financial services. However, the sector is recovering strongly and there are opportunities for new entrants to make up the skills shortages that appeared during the recession.
Since 2013, more than 1,700 firms including banks, building societies, insurers and investment firms have been supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority. It aims to reduce the chances of sector-wide failure on the scale seen in the last financial crisis - making the industry a more stable career choice than previously.
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