“The true enemy for many is the daily grind of commuting.” That’s according to Mark Dixon, CEO of flexible office provider IWG. And he has a point. People were only too delighted to give up their commute during the pandemic; for many, the resulting time and cost savings were the biggest perk of working from home.
For many, working in the City is a lifelong ambition. Living in London, working in the fast paced and exciting finance industry can be a dream come true. But how can you ‘get in’?
What’s the appeal?
Some of the oldest, most reputable firms in the world are based in the City, as well as many considered the most desirable to work for. These businesses hire the crème de la crème, exposing you to some of the most talented and influential businessmen and women in the world. Securing a job at a top firm will help you to excel in your field and offers career opportunities to PAs that many in other industries can only dream of. Even before you progress, if you form a strong bond with your boss then there is a good chance you will be able to move on with them, should the chance arise.
While there are plenty of reasons to make your move for a job in the City, getting a foot in the door is not always easy. It can be a slightly closed-off world, with most firms only hiring staff with previous City experience. This is beginning to change though: EY have recently removed the need for a degree when hiring and some firms are willing to take a chance on PAs without City-specific experience, but you should be aware that it is still unusual.
The good news is there are other ways into the industry. If, for example, you’ve held a desk assistant role dealing with expenses you may have the initial skillset required to get a foot in the door. If not, the easiest way to get started is via a junior float position on the trading floor. The job essentially supports traders to perform their role. From researching commodities to diary management and travel bookings, excellent organisational skills are essential. Make no mistake, this is a tough job; long hours in an intensive role are the norm. Fast-paced is an understatement and stress can be high. Know too that there is a culture of temping in the City. If you’re in a permanent role now, you will probably need to contract if you work for a City-based firm. However, there will be many rewards to reap!
If you can tough it out, there are plenty of benefits for those working in finance. Let’s start with the obvious one: remuneration. A 22-year-old junior assistant could earn up to £35-£40k in banking. Some firms now offer 0% loans to staff, many give 12 months maternity leave at full pay, and free gym memberships are common place. You can also expect to form some long-lasting relationships. There are lots of great social opportunities and close friendships to be formed; many of our candidates even meet their future spouse at work!
A role in the City will set you on a career path that can last almost as long as you want it to. Experience in the industry will make you a very desirable candidate in almost any other field, with few able to match it for tempo and pressure. Health benefits and travel opportunities are common, but best of all, career progression within finance is a real possibility. You may be able to make the move into an Analyst position at some point, with Junior Assistant and PA experience giving you a sure footing to transition into the role.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to make a move into the industry get in touch with us today.