The finance and accounting industry is an incredibly popular choice for graduates as it offers some of the highest-paying jobs in the UK – even at entry level.
Since these roles are typically in-demand, require specialist knowledge and come with more pressure than you might find in other roles, the graduate starting salary is often much higher to compensate.
If you’re considering applying for finance jobs as a graduate or even part-qualified finance professional, below we run through some of the best-paying graduate finance jobs in the UK.
Why Choose a Graduate Finance Job?
With over one million people currently employed in financial services across the UK, the finance industry remains a key driver of the country’s economy. At the same time, it’s important to remember that businesses of all shapes and sizes require financial professionals to help with day-to-day operations and long-term financial planning.
This makes the sector incredibly lucrative depending on your skill set. If you have a finance, accounting or banking degree, you can establish yourself within a graduate programme or earn an entry-level role within one of the highest-paying graduate sectors in the country.
The average salary of a finance graduate in the UK is £31,759. This isn’t significantly lower than the average salary for full-time workers in the UK – which sits at £38,000 as of 2020 – and a clear demonstration of why graduates are opting to study and work in the finance industry.
Joining a graduate scheme or working an entry-level role can also help you build vital soft skills such as communicational skills while also improving your technical understanding of the industry and how different roles support each other. During your time as a finance graduate, you may consider specialising in a field such as risk management, investment banking, portfolio management, hedge fund management or financial analysis.
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What are the best-paying graduate finance jobs?
Using a mix of salary data from online research – as well as our own 2023 Salary Guide – we’ve listed the best paying graduate finance jobs below. Remember that these salary ranges are based on information found during research and can differ based on location or company.
Graduate Financial Analyst
Salary: £25,000 – £30,000
Financial analysis is a popular field for finance professionals that want to work in data science, statistics and economics. Typically, a graduate financial analyst will provide recommendations for a business based on economic trends and company fundamentals. This career path is ideal for those that want to work in a data-led environment with a high pay ceiling and plenty of room for progression. In many cases, a financial analyst may work as part of a larger team or even move into consultancy as they become more experienced.
Investment Portfolio Assistant
Salary: £21,000 – £25,000
An investment portfolio assistant will typically work alongside a more experienced investment consultant and provide ongoing support. As part of the role they solve client requests, prepare audits, provide research support around investment advice and assist with reporting on investment performance. Generally, this role requires cultivating client relationships and makes use of both technical skills as well as ‘soft skills’ such as good communication, problem-solving and client relations.
Graduate Investment Analyst
Salary: £27,000 – £35,000
Much like a financial analyst, an investment analyst will measure the performance of a specific investment – including portfolio and fund investments – and provide recommendations. Depending on the role, the investment analyst may work for a specific client or their employer but the goal is generally the same – maximise performance and ensure that long-term investment objectives are being met.
Graduate Associate (Private Equity)
Salary: £30,000 – £35,000
Private equity remains one of the most desirable sectors within the finance industry and thus includes some of the highest paying graduate jobs available. Private equity firms focus on companies that do not publicly trade and invest in these businesses, working to increase their value. ‘Graduate’ roles in private equity generally require some experience in investment banking beforehand which make them more difficult to attain but the benefits are often a much higher salary and bonus structure. While some firms do utilise traditional graduate schemes, these are generally incredibly competitive.
Finance Graduate (Investment Banking)
Salary: £30,000 – £50,000
Working in investment banking is often a goal for finance graduates and can open up plenty of career opportunities in other fields such as private equity. When you start a career in investment banking, you’ll typically be working for a financial institution and in the majority of cases – particularly if you’re joining a prestigious graduate scheme – you’ll be working as an analyst before you start moving up the ranks. Investment banking is a high-pressure working environment but offers significant monetary compensation – the average entry-level pay for an investment banker is £42,000.
Trainee Fund Accountant
Salary: £30,000 – £35,000
Working in fund accounting is a popular choice for graduates as it offers high entry–level salaries and the opportunity to learn more about the operation of funds including drawing funds, managing cash flow and reporting. As a trainee or graduate fund accountant, you’ll generally be assisting a more senior accounting professional while you learn more about corporate accounts, governance and company structures. Many accountants take on a position such as this while they’re earning their professional qualifications.