Finding out what risks people face and helping to protect them against them and let them get on with their lives is an admirable profession: consider insurance. Banking is also about protecting people's interests and you can look forward to a career with plenty of opportunity for promotion and rewards.

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Jobs and salaries

Insurance

The insurance industry offers a wide range of jobs including actuarial work, sales, surveying, claims handling and investigation, underwriting, risk management, investment management, and pensions management.

Find out all about a career in insurance at Discover Risk, particularly the various career paths available and about what you can earn in this profession.

You could also consider a career in insurance law, or in loss adjusting, where you help to settle claims on the behalf of insurance companies.

Banking

What is it like to work in Banking?

Learn more about the accountancy and finance profession.

Are you considering a career in Financial Services?

Find out more about different areas within the financial services including retail banking, financial wealth advice and accountancy.

  • Graduate salaries are amongst the highest in the UK and many companies offer additional benefits such as a sign-on bonus, gym membership and a company bonus scheme.
  • Graduates entering banking can expect an average starting salary of £31,625 (Target Graduate Trends Survey 2006/7: Banking and Investment). While those entering insurance start at about £24,750.


Routes and qualifications

You do not need a formal degree to work in Insurance or Banking, however, training and qualifications can help to progress your career. People come to this sector from all sorts of backgrounds, including various degree programmes, but it is common to start out on a non-graduate route too.

Insurance

The CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) offers insurance qualifications, learning materials and professional support to help with career progression. 

Read about the benefits and framework of the CII’s general insurance qualifications. 

Find out more about becoming qualified in compliance, anti money laundering or financial crime prevention.

Apprenticeships are also offered to people over the age 16 who do not hold a formal degree.

Banking

The CIOBS (Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland) offer qualifications designed to help banking and financial services professionals to maximise their career development potential.

Find out more about qualifications for the securities and investment industryThe Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) also offers information on qualifications, graduate schemes and apprenticeships.

Take a look at qualifications for the financial services profession, and a variety of other training options for this sector.


Funding and support

Information on costs of the courses vary between institutions. By looking through the links to different training providers above, you will be able to get an idea of costs, or ask them directly. If you are already working in the sector, speak to your HR department about getting funded to do further study and develop your career.


What’s it really like working in this sector?

  • Find out from those already working in insurance and banking by watching our short careers videos on this sector.
  • Work is mostly office based however people may have to travel long distances to meet clients.
  • Working hours in this sector can be notoriously long, particularly for new graduates. For example in investment banking it’s not unusual for entry level graduates to work 12 hour days.


How many jobs are there in this sector?

There are around 200 banks operating in the UK, as well as many more abroad. Also consider jobs in other financial roles.

The insurance industry currently employs around 320,000 people in the UK.


Location, location, location

Most of the jobs in this sector will see you working in London, particularly the City for financial careers. However there is plenty of opportunity for travel as many banks and insurance companies have a network of offices and branches across the country, and abroad.


Would a career in this sector suit me?

  • More than 350,000 individuals work in the financial services industry in the UK (Skills Review: UK Wholesale Financial Services Summary, Financial Services Skills Council, May 2007).
  • There are a wide range of positions to choose from actuarial work, pensions and sales to investment management.
  • Insurance companies also recruit for general management functions such as accountancy, marketing and management services.