Students rush to apply for the safest finance jobs out there

If you are looking for the safest job in finance, you might want to work for the regulator. The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its annual report for 2019/2020 yesterday. It reveals that the numbers and jobs of graduates are increasing inexorably and that it is easier than before to get to the bottom of the ladder in a regulatory role.

FCA hired 84 graduates and 37 summer interns in 2019, up from 41 graduates and 20 summer interns a year earlier, more than double its total number of students. FCA says the increase reflects “a strategic intervention to address future capability gaps” and that this year it has been particularly focused on recruiting “science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates.” in its “newly developed Data Science, specialized programs in cybersecurity and technology.”

Students have good reasons to seek jobs with financial regulators. They don’t pay badly. The average salary within the FCA was £91,000 last year and salary ranges published by the FCA, shown in the table below, show that salary rises from around £25,000 for associates (trainees ) to £150,000+ for managers.

FCA salaries by title

Source: FCA

Equally important, while investment banking jobs are hampered by job cuts — real or threatened — the regulator is continually adding staff. As shown in the graph below, all divisions increased their workforce in 2019.

Unfortunately, however, getting a job with the regulator is not easy. In 2019, 10,500 students applied for FCA jobs: a ratio of 125 people for every vacancy. It was at least easier than in 2018, when 280 applicants chased after every opportunity.

What does it take to be successful? A STEM qualification will clearly help, and as the FCA tries to increase diversity among its staff, of which only 44% are currently women, it can be particularly helpful to be a woman with a STEM qualification. Excellent A-levels are less essential: FCA says it has scrapped the UCAS point requirement for applicants over the past year in a bid to open up its graduate roles to more applicants.

The FCA isn’t the only regulator hiring graduates. The SEC also operates a student recruitment program in the United States, both for interns and new graduates.

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Photo by Paolo Lentini on Unsplash

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