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- Financial services: characteristics of the workforce
Financial services: characteristics of the workforce
It is not easy to accurately assess the size and workforce in financial services as many organisations that are not specifically of the sector, nevertheless have operations that cut across it, particularly in accountancy and consultancy. However, there seem to be around 67,000 businesses in the sector, approximately 34,000 in financial services, including businesses such as banking, insurance and financial advice, and 37,270 businesses registered as providing accountancy services (including audit and assurance, tax, advisory and outsourced services) [Financial Services Skills Council Skills Assessment]. Over two million people are employed in the sector in the UK, about half of whom are in accountancy. London is by far the most important location, and the sector is calculated to have at GVA [GVA, or Gross Value Added, measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector in the United Kingdom] of approximately £126bn in 2009, or 10% of the total UK GVA [The Contribution of Financial and Professional Business Services to the City of London, Greater London and UK Economies]. It is estimated that the sector generates 14% of the UK total tax take [UK international financial services - the future]. The financial services sector makes an important contribution to the UK's balance of payments, with the overall surplus in financial services reaching £40.2bn in 2009 [City of London Research and Statistics FAQ].
The workforce is largely university educated and employed full time although some sub-sectors have significant part-time employment. Slightly more women work in the industry than men, and over a third of the workforce is under 35. There is a well-established pattern of hiring university graduates across the sector and capable doctoral graduates may find themselves in demand. The sector has also traditionally recruited globally, and so the very best-paid positions are exceptionally competitive.
London is home to just under one third of overall UK financial services jobs, with the South East region generating a further 11 per cent and the North West almost 10 per cent. Although the capital still dominates, financial centres outside London have
developed their own specialities. Edinburgh has internationally recognised expertise in asset management. Leeds and York are centres of business services and the South West, around Bristol and Bournemouth, has a significant presence in insurance and back-office functions.
Because London is a global finance centre, and significant parts of the sector are global businesses, many employees can - and will - find themselves working outside the UK. Doctoral graduates with international experience, or language skills, may find themselves with an advantage in applying, whilst those who are reluctant or unable to work overseas may find that it affects their career in some parts of the sector.
Financial services was hit badly, but unevenly, by the recession but the sector as a whole has already begun to recover. However, at present, employment growth is not expected to resume until around 2013 and so the labour market may be more competitive until then [Financial Services Skills Council Skills Assessment]. The City of London is expected to recover more quickly than the rest of the UK.
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