Want to work in an environment where there’s an ‘opportunity to earn’ and to progress fast? Try the challenging financial services, says Helen Beckett.
‘Work hard but don’t play hard’ sums up the new ethos for the IT professional in this sector. Their long hours of graft and technical ingenuity enable the lifestyle of the champagne-glugging traders, but they rarely get to share it – they’re too busy.
However, if you want to advance your IT career quickly, this is the place to be. City recruiter David Bloxham, managing director of GCS, estimates that any role has a premium of between 15 and 25% and perhaps more for top roles or rare skills. Hands-on developers roles and technologist jobs can earn around £110,000 per year and pay packets get bigger with management responsibility.
A typical remuneration package is made up of the base salary, bonus, share incentives and quite often includes an allowance for housing and a car. Bonuses are prominent within financial service organisations as they rely heavily on them to motivate staff, with retail and investment banks tending to pay the most in order to retain top talent and ensure they deliver results.
Pension and perks
Other benefits offered to IT professionals working in the City usually include generous pension schemes, gym membership and health and life insurance, says Mike Kyd, director at Hays Finance Technology. He adds that you can also get enhanced maternity and paternity benefits and flexible working hours at some organisations who are in a bid to attract and retain top talent.
Banks take their fair share of graduates and are very active recruiting on the milk round. If you enjoy a high octane environment, where there’s constant change, and you’re interested in how money markets work, this could be for you.
No dress-down code
You’ll be expected to look like any other business professional if you want to be taken seriously, no dress-down code of the IT Crowd here. And definitely no pony tails. However, things have relaxed a little since the downturn, reckons City recruiter, Mike Jetson, head of contracting services at the Hays Group.
“Since the downturn, employers are more open to flexible working hours. The days are long and hard but there’s an element of working from home and the dress code may have eased up a little, with fewer ties being worn”, he concedes.
Stability over innovation
Any self-confessed geek who’s heavily into pushing the envelope in Java, might want to look elsewhere. Banks are inherently conservative and are not renowned for being innovators, preferring others to pilot new technology rather than committing their own funds to trials.
There is more contract work in the City than other sectors, simply because they can afford it and also because they are constantly rolling out new projects. If you’re not sure whether you’d take to the environment, a spell contracting may be the best way to check it out.
David Bloxham, managing director, GCS
Mike Kyd, director at Hays Finance Technology
Mike Jetson of the Hays Group
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