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7th Jul 2017

Why financial services are the future

David Elliott

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew which sector was going offer you lots of high paying, stimulating jobs in the future?

Deciding what career path to follow would be child’s play if that were the case and you could spend the intervening years upskilling yourself to the eyeballs.

We’ve already tried to offer you such Mystic Meg proclamations before in his column - https://www.nijobfinder.co.uk/nijobfinder-news-and-views/job-blog/want-to-earn-twice-the-average-salary/ - but because not everybody out there is a tech head there were cries of “what else is there, oh wise one?”.

Well, aside from your sarcastic use of the word “wise” in that last sentence, that’s a very good question and one we can at least have a stab at answering.

According to those wise bods at PwC – and they really are wise – financial services are the way forward.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but really, the financial services industry isn’t all about number crunching in a sterile office environment, nor does it require a healthy appetite for such a long lunch as the Wolf of Wall Street would have you believe.

The truth is the modern financial services sector is somewhere in between, made up of banks, accountants, investment funds, brokers, software providers and a whole ream of startups, all of which are becoming much more Google in the working environment they provide than the stuffy banks of yesteryear.

Take a look at some of the financial services companies which are already operating in Northern Ireland and you’ll see a host of blue chip names which wouldn’t look out of place in the Financial Times.

Citi, CME Group, Tullet Prebon…these and other inward investors in Northern Ireland are the backbone of the buy low, sell high, lunch-is-for-wimps world in which trillions of pounds of foreign exchange, gold, coffee and pork bellies are traded on a daily basis.

Most of the barrow-boy trading is carried out in London, Singapore and New York but much of the tying up of deals and other admin is done right here in Northern Ireland on a 24-hour rolling basis.

And that’s just the inward investors.

There are also a host of indigenous companies - such as Newry’s First Derivatives – which have become global leaders in the financial services world.

Granted, many of the jobs are involved in that old chestnut technology, but there are plenty of roles which don’t need a techie background, merely an ability not to be frightened by the odd-looking job title these types of firms give to roles which you could do if you highlighted your transferable skills (https://www.nijobfinder.co.uk/nijobfinder-news-and-views/job-blog/transferable-skills-your-passport-to-a-new-career).

And by 2025 the financial services sector in Northern Ireland will have grown by a quarter, according to PwC.

It said improving technology will mean the big centres such as London will be able to outsource more and more of their back office functions to places like Belfast, a city which is gaining a reputation as a financial services – that word again – hub for all the right reasons.

“Belfast’s advantages include availability of skilled labour, proximity to London and its Dublin competitor, as well as world-class universities and a relatively low-cost of doing business,” its report said.

So, if you fancy getting into a career with a future, you could do a lot worse that heading into the financial services sector.

If you need any inspiration, watch the 80’s Eddie Murphy film Trading Places.

You’ll never look at a BLT sandwich in the same way again and will get an understanding and an appreciation for an industry that keeps the financial world turning.

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