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What Are Graduate Finance Salaries Like?

If you’ve decided on a career in finance, you’ll no doubt be rather keen to learn what graduate finance salaries are like. You’ve probably heard a lot on the grape vine about how highly paid entry level jobs in this sector can be...and in some areas the pay cheques can indeed be big!  There’s no denying that the graduate salaries are another factor that makes banking and finance careers so appealing and recruitment particularly competitive. So what kind of cash are we talking here?

Investment banking tops the pay scale

Unsurprisingly, investment banking tops the field when it comes to graduate salaries. That’s not just within the finance industry as a whole either; but throughout the various sectors for graduate jobs in the UK. According to the High Fliers 2014 report which relays figures and statistics from in-depth research into UK graduate recruitment, graduates in investment banking have a median starting salary of a whopping £45,000 for this year. This even beats the legal eagles in law who start out on around £39,000!

Outside of investment banking, graduate finance salaries vary according to which area you decide to move into. Graduate finance salaries in banking and finance firms such as professional services firms offer juicy median starting salaries of £33,000 according to the report.

If you choose to get into consulting or an actuarial or graduate roll, you could find yourself earning a salary of around £30,000 to £32,000 at the very beginning of your career. Not too shabby at all! Technology salaries within business and finance also kick off on a similar rate. Accounting and HR roles may bring in slightly lower salaries than this to begin with (depending on the employer), but there is plenty of scope for big salary boosts as you work your way up the ladder – especially in the City…

City salaries

The City of London is one of the world’s financial epicentres, and it’s where the big bucks really do kick in! It’s true that City jobs do tend to pay that bit extra in terms of salaries; but bear in mind that there is the cost of living in London to consider (one of the world’s most expensive cities!) and it is still possible to earn a very nice salary indeed based in another city in the UK. Plenty of the global big guns in the financial world have offices across the country – not just in London. And you don’t think the City lifestyle is for you, there are still numerous opportunities within the industry away from the Big Smoke to earn a pretty penny with.

  Future earnings

Of course, the great thing about graduate finance salaries is the potential for the amount you earn to rocket considerably as you gain more experience, gain professional qualifications and in some instances receive generous bonuses. In areas like trading and brokerage you will often take home a base salary, which will be an unchanging amount regardless of your performance at work, plus some commission on successful transactions you make. So if you’re at the top of your game, the extra money you make on commission can make an incredible difference to what you earn!

Management roles in banking and finance can eventually bring in upwards of £40,000 to £50,000 outside of the City, and often considerably more than that. Seasoned professionals, managers and executives in areas like investment banking, actuarial careers, asset management, wealth management and consulting can hit the dizzying zenith of six-figure salary territory!

The complete package

Aside from the salaries, graduate finance roles also tend to have pretty awesome benefits packages. To start with you could receive pension scheme membership, private healthcare, gym membership or payment for travel expenses. As you develop and become more of an asset to your employer, you may well receive other more tailored benefits to suit your needs and wishes, such as financial support to pursue more qualifications or a company car.

In short, that student scrimping lifestyle could very easily be abolished once you bag a graduate job within finance! 

By Jos Weale, Editor, All About Finance Careers