Which GCSEs do finance recruiters look for?
When it comes to your GCSEs there are no solid rules for the subjects you should choose in order to head directly into a finance career. Recruiters appreciate that you are at a very early stage in your long career path (which is likely to stretch out right into your 60s!), and a bunch of varied GCSE subjects can demonstrate that you’re an interesting candidate.
If you know you want to move into finance straight away, then it’s important that you do three things when it comes to GCSEs:
- Obtain some great results—aim for at least C grades across the board;
- Start to work on building your commercial awareness and activities which show you’re really passionate about the sector;
- Nail at least a B grade in both Maths and English.
It's probably not shocking that this is important. Although there's a huge variety of different roles within the finance world (just check out the range in the Industry Breakdown section), you have a really good grip on numbers for many of them. This is true even for some of the roles that don’t deal heavily in figures and statistics on a daily basis!
A strong Maths GCSE shows you’re sufficiently numerate and have good logical thinking; it really is a must-have! Most employers specify a B as an essential entry requirement for any school leaver programme, apprenticeship scheme, sponsored degree, and even graduate roles. So make sure you really knuckle down with this subject!
English—and more specifically English Language—is another vital subject in which you need to achieve at least a B. Consultants, accountants, financial analysts, techies, financial advisers, traders, salespeople, researchers… you name it; they all need to talk the talk in their roles to succeed. Banking and finance firms rely on effective communication; and if the written, comprehension and spoken skills of their employees aren’t quite up to scratch, a business will be in trouble! A minimum of a B in GCSE English will convince finance employers you’re up to the job in this particular area.
Top GCSE grades all go towards creating the image of a great candidate for this sector. The grades won’t mean everything (you’ll need to show the interest and passion too), but make sure you tick this box!