Making the most of your financial services career potential

Phil Scott, AFR consulting director, responds to an article regarding the state of play in the financial services sector.

Having recently read this article about the massive pay differences for men and women, and the general lack of pay rises in the industry, it got me thinking about how young people may perceive embarking on a career in financial services.

As a young dynamic woman starting out on the career ladder this is not a statistic that will fill you with delight, and there are others like it. We at AFR are keen to impress upon the finance directors of the future that there are ways to reach your career and earnings potential and it’s never too early to set goals.

In the eFinancial Careers’ latest Salary & Bonus Survey Report it finds that ‘women working in financial services in the UK earned on average 21% less than men’.

‘Females base salary was on average £14,500 less than their male counterparts and when bonuses are factored in, males out-earned females by over £30,000’.

It is a problem that cannot be escaped and from our perspective as recruiters we know that what’s really important is that companies get the best talent and the perfect fit for the role in their organization and in most cases gender is regardless.

I am often asked to speak to students at various stages of their studies and offer a few pieces of key advice to help them reach their own career and earnings potential.

At the start of your career, decide what level you are aiming for and map out how to get there

Not everyone will want, nor be able, to be a top level FD bringing home the high salaries and putting in the long hours that come with it – and that is fine, know where it is you want to get to and set that as your own goal and career peak focusing on the salary that goes with it.

Complete all exams as soon as possible

The market is busy, according to a recent article, 2012 will see the highest number of graduates to jobs ratio yet. And so to set yourself from the competition, having completed all your exams will definitely help.

The other factor is that individuals who postpone some exams till later in their career, or after a starting a family, for example, are much less likely to ever finish them.

This could come back to haunt you if you are on the job market towards the end of your career.

When you reach your career peak – make sure you stay at the top of your game There are always new technologies and developments in the industry and so as not to be overtaken by another individual, always keep abreast of the latest trends and make sure your skills are up to date.