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Financial services

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Meet the employers

Airdrie Savings Bank

The organisation

Airdrie Savings Bank is the last independent savings bank in the UK. We’re a retail bank and offer a range of bank accounts and services to personal and small/medium-size business customers through our seven branches in North Lanarkshire.


For us, the most important thing is providing a relaxed and friendly service for our customers. With only 96 people in the organisation, we’re relatively small, so we’re a very close-knit bunch.


Our branches all have a range of facilities where employees can socialise, have their lunch and make refreshments.


For school leavers

Most of our new recruits are school leavers. We ask for Standard Grades in Mathematics and English from everyone, and for good communication skills. It’s really important to us that our employees are good at working as part of a team and that they can give our customers a great service.

New recruits tend to work in a branch. We give everyone full training and employees get the chance to learn about the business by helping customers directly.

We often recruit directly from local schools or sometimes run advertisements in the local press.

For graduates

We don’t have a formal graduate recruitment programme as such, but we’re happy for graduates to apply for roles if they see something advertised they think would suit them.

Charity work

The bank is a local business so we’re very active in our community and we support a lot of local community activities and projects in North Lanarkshire.

We work with local primary children in North Lanarkshire, encouraging and helping them to save. We also have employees who regularly visit local care home residents to assist them with their banking.

Training and benefits


New employees take part in an induction course but the majority of the training is done on-the-job. We encourage our employees to study for qualifications offered by The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, to help them to progress their own careers. We also offer internal training courses.


We offer employees a pension where we match their contributions. We’re a mutual organisation, so the way we offer benefits is a bit different to other companies. A lot of the benefits come from the culture rather than a benefits package.


The organisation

Our main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance. We have around 46,000 employees, serving over 53 million customers in 28 countries around the world.

We’re a leading provider of life and pensions products in Europe and we’re growing our long-term savings businesses in Asia Pacific and the United States. For us, our main aim is to bring prosperity and peace of mind to our customers.


Making our employees feel valued and recognised is very important to us. It’s really important that we get great people to join and stay with us, and that we get the best out of them.

Teamwork is the lifeblood of Aviva. It means commitment to a common vision and objectives, depending on one another, pulling together and sharing knowledge and learning. We actively encourage innovation and improvement, and champion continuous learning.

We also recognise the strength that comes from working with colleagues from a whole host of different backgrounds; colleagues with different experiences and fresh perspectives.

It's equally important to us to make sure that everyone is given the support, encouragement and development opportunities they need to make the most of their unique talents.

We recognise people for their talent and individuality, and we listen to the feedback they give us to make sure Aviva continues to be a great place to work.


The facilities available to you will depend where you work as each location has unique services. Our larger locations like Perth and Bishopbriggs have car parking and cafeteria facilities.


For school leavers

We do employ school leavers directly; it always helps however, if you have gained some work experience whilst you were at school.

For current vacancies for Scotland, take a look at the careers section on the Aviva website.

For graduates

We recruit graduates to programmes around the UK; the location depends on the role you’re applying for.

All of the graduate schemes last for two years (apart from the Chartered Accountant programme, which takes three years to obtain your professional qualification). Each programme is built around your strengths, interests and passions.

The different programmes we offer are Acturial, Insurance, Chartered Accountancy and Human Resources. In the Chartered Accountancy scheme you'll get a professional qualification at the end of your three year course. There will be a constant stream of multi-million pound business challenges, good practice for the challenges you will face in your real career.

Graduates work on live projects, so it’s a lot of responsibility – you will handle live cases and protect real customers’ wealth. But, you do get all the training and support you need to do a great job.

Charity work

We have a really big commitment to charities and our employees have the option to take some time to do volunteer work. In 2009 our volunteers gave 79,900 hours of their time and managed to raise over £8 million for charities around the world.

We are committed to investing at least 50% of our global charitable donations budget to develop the activities of the Consortium for Street Children, an international member-based network dedicated to promoting and campaigning for the rights of street children around the world.

Our Street to School Programme works with leading charities to champion the needs of street children in local communities and helps school-age children reach their full potential. Individuals could get their photo projected on to the side of many different buildings around the world as part of the You are the Big Picture campaign. Aviva donated £1 to Street to School Charities for each photo projected.

Many local charities receive support from our employees; they regularly raise money and provide volunteer services to important causes.

Training and benefits


New employees benefit from structured developmental support and take part in a 'Welcome to Aviva Day' where they’ll get a thorough grounding in the background of the company to help them understand our worldwide outlook, our different products and services and how they fit within the organisation.

Each employee has a Personal Development Plan (PDP) which will take them through a learning and development route that’s particular to their line of work. Training will be given through a mix of instruction, learning from others and learning on-the-job. Line managers provide support and review progress at regular intervals.

Our employees can always access learning and development material, accredited programmes and recognised qualifications to help them develop their skills during their time with us.


Everyone who works with us has different interests, different lifestyles, different needs and different goals, and our flexible benefits package tries to reflect that. The benefits package lets employees tailor their rewards to suit their needs.

Employees can benefit from generous annual leave and can, if they wish, buy more. There are also a number of performance-dependent bonuses, pension share schemes, save-as-you-earn schemes, private healthcare discounts, home insurance and breakdown recovery services.

BNP PARIBAS Securities Services

The organisation

BNP Paribas Securities Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BNP Paribas Group, one of the world’s largest banks. We operate across the investment cycle and we provide post-trade administration solutions for financial institutions and issuers around the world. We have a local presence across 32 countries with a global coverage of over 100 markets.


Our culture is underpinned by our six core values: Team spirit, Excellence, Innovation, Respect, Client focus and Fun. We promote an environment where people enjoy working together and doing their job well. We have a business casual dress code and our working environment is very open and relaxed.


Our offices in Dundee and Glasgow have staffrooms with soft drinks machines, access to TVs and kitchen facilities, and we offer lunch vouchers to our employees in Scotland for use at many cafes and restaurants. At our offices in Peterborough and London there are on-site cafeterias which provide employees with a complementary lunch. We also offer childcare vouchers as one of our standard benefits which are available to all employees.


For school leavers

Although school leavers do not tend to be the main focus of our recruitment, we do consider applicants from all backgrounds with a minimum standard of qualifications. We also offer internships and work experience to allow school leavers to gain experience in the financial sector.

To apply, you should check our website for opportunities or email for opportunities in Scotland.

For graduates

We have a number of entry level roles suitable for graduates and last year we recruited 14 graduates into our Scottish offices. All new employees begin a formal on-the-job training plan when they start at the company. Following this, employees are encouraged to enrol in courses to develop their skills further.

We also offer paid 12 week summer placements to 3rd and 4th year university students each year. This allows students to experience the working environment on a fixed-term contract.

Opportunities are advertised on our website as well as with universities.

Charity work

As a successful business we recognise the need to give something back to the local community and we actively encourage our employees to get involved with charitable activities. Our local Corporate Social Responsibility committee arrange events to raise money for our charity partners such as food collections, team fundraising events and charity fun days.

This year our volunteering and fundraising efforts in the UK will be focussed on MacMillan Cancer Support, our charity of the year, chosen by employees.

In the UK employees can take up to two days (or equivalent number of hours) each year to take part in volunteering opportunities. These range from taking part in reading partner schemes with local schools, running CV workshops, restoring local community centres and environmental conservation activity days.

Training and benefits


We strongly encourage learning and development. All new employees go through a two day induction programme followed by relevant on-the-job-training, with structured training plans. Employees have regular one-to-one meetings with their line managers where both career development and personal development are discussed.

All employees are encouraged to keep and progress personal development plans and have access to our extensive learning management system to book both classroom-based and online training courses.


We recognise that every employee requires a different benefits package to fit their personal lifestyle. Our flexible benefits package enables our employees to select the benefits that best suit them.

This benefits scheme gives our employees the opportunity to choose their type and level of cover for benefits such as pension, healthcare, dental cover and life insurance, based on their own personal circumstances. Other benefits that are available include our cycle to work scheme, retail discounts, employee referral schemes, on-site chair massages, eyecare vouchers and season ticket loans.

We also have an employee recognition scheme in place which rewards employees for going above and beyond the requirements of their role. There's also a flexible working policy to address work-life balance.

Capital Credit Union

The organisation

Capital Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative. We’re a community and work-based credit union which offers our services to anyone who lives or works in Edinburgh, the Lothians or the Borders. We work closely with people who can’t get financial help elsewhere to provide them with access to affordable credit.


We try to make our office really welcoming. Although employees are generally assigned to specific roles, the training employees receive means that their roles can be really varied and flexible. Our senior employees are very knowledgeable and are encouraged to share that knowledge with other Capital Credit Union employees. Even the Chief Executive is available to speak to employees, which you wouldn’t normally get somewhere bigger.

We dress smartly from Monday through to Thursday and then on Fridays the office has a dress down day and the staff donate £1 to a local charity.


Our offices have been refurbished recently so they're really smart and modern. There’s an employee car park at our head office (on Hamilton Place in Edinburgh) and a large kitchen in both of our offices (Hamilton Place and Bathgate) where employees can socialise and enjoy lunch.


For school leavers

We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to consider working with us and we’ve no minimum qualifications standards. We’re always looking for volunteers. That way you can get real experience of working in the financial services sector.

We helped to create and implement the CIBOS Credit Union Practice module, which is part of the Financial Services Diploma. The module gives people the chance to learn about credit union business models and best practices.

For graduates

We advertise education opportunities on a number of community websites as well as our company website, and encourage graduates to apply for roles in the company. We often work with schools and universities to promote the work that we do, and ethical financial service practices in general.

We launched an initiative with Napier University that gives marketing students the chance to work on a live project as part of their course. Students are given a marketing brief for Capital; they come up with a strategy which is then assessed by our employees.

Charity work

We held a sponsored cycle to raise funds for The Sick Kids Friends Foundation in Edinburgh’s Princes Mall. We’ve also raised funds for charities like Alzheimers Scotland, Parkinson’s UK and First Children.

Training and benefits


All new recruits get an induction, on-the-job training and mentoring, and we’re really supportive of employees attending courses and seminars to broaden their skills and understanding.

It’s important for us to tell new employees about the unique functions of credit unions and the financial services industry – working in finance means that employees are entrusted with particular responsibilities so we help our employees to understand this.

Employees are given numerous opportunities to become more involved in the credit union system outside of the day job. This includes attending additional courses/conferences and travelling to other countries to see how credit unions work elsewhere so we can learn and bring back best practice.


Our employees get discounted loans and a great pension scheme which they can take with them if they change job. Some employees choose to work part-time and some job share – we’re happy to be flexible with working hours when we can.


The organisation

Citi is the largest financial services company in the world. We have offices in more than 140 countries and employ over 260,000 people.

Citi Markets and Banking has become a market leader, expertly serving the needs of corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services. From stock brokerage to research analysis, investment banking to global transaction services, Citi provides more industry-leading solutions to more clients in more countries than any of its competitors.

Our Edinburgh office is centrally based and only a short walk from Waverley train station. Our main activity in our Edinburgh office is fund administration operations. We manage all operational, administrative and regulatory activities in a single package allowing our clients to concentrate on their core business of asset management.

Citi Edinburgh Operations has become our European centre of excellence and currently employs approximately 300 individuals in the following areas: Fund Accounting and Reporting, Derivatives, Tax Services, Business Change, Data Management, Business Adoption, Corporate Actions, Business Controls, Performance Measurement, Training, Client Services and Product Management.

Our culture

It will take more than just our leading business model to get us where we want to go. It means attracting, developing and retaining the most talented people available, and fostering an entrepreneurial culture that encourages individual success while enabling us to leverage those talents to grow our company in the years ahead.

Bureaucracy is discouraged, decision-making is streamlined by an 'open-door' management style and people are promoted on their merits rather than on their tenure, and rewarded for their performance.

All applications may be made through the Citi website.


Graduates are recruited in each of our four operating divisions - Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America.

Full-time and internship opportunities exist across a broad set of businesses including Consumer Banking, Investment Banking, Capital Markets Origination, Sales & Trading, Global Transaction Services, Private Banking, Risk, Human Resources, Operations and Technology.

In EMEA we also offer spring programmes aimed at first year students who are looking for an introduction to financial services and a programme aimed at female undergraduates ‘Women of Tomorrow’. We hire to offices in 22 locations around the EMEA region.

Typically students will undertake an internship at the bank in the summer of their penultimate year at university. If that internship is successful they will be offered a full- time position the following September (after graduating). Citi also hires a limited number of students directly.

Candidates can apply online.

Charity work

Each year Citi in Edinburgh supports a local charity. We have a dress down day on a Friday where all employees give a £1 donation each week for charity collection. We also have volunteering days each year where employees are entitled to take one day per year to volunteer for various charities.

In addition we have volunteers with Young Enterprise Scotland, Careers Academy Scotland and the Speakers Bank.

Training and benefits


Citi is a great place to build a career. We know that to get the most talented work force we need to invest in our people and our future. Citi offers classroom, web-based and on-the-job training to help you grow professionally whilst also increasing your confidence and contribution by maintaining your knowledge base with the most up-to-date information.


In addition to a competitive salary, we also offer a number of benefits to our employees. We will pay you overtime or a discretionary bonus (which option is dependent on your level) and we offer a non-contributory pension scheme. We also offer free life assurance cover, health insurance and private medical cover.

Our work-life balance benefits include a full Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) designed not only to offer confidential counselling but also practical legal and financial advice and a Lifestyle Management Programme that offers you an online concierge and discounts with many well-known local and national retailers.

Clydesdale Bank

The organisation

Clydesdale Bank is not too big and not too small. It might seem like an unusual way to describe a bank, but it perfectly sums up what makes us special. We’ve kept a focus on our customers through the financial crisis, and think it’s really important to look after our employees. We think we’re in a great position for the future.

There are four key areas people work in at Clydesdale Bank: Distribution (retail, direct banking and wealth management), Manufacturing (the process part of the business), Shared Services (risk management, finance, human resources and technology) and the Hub, our marketing and communications centre.


Our customers are at the heart of our culture so everything we do is about supporting that. We’re a warm and friendly organisation – we look after the people that work for us, so that they’ll look after our customers. It’s an aspirational culture; the behaviours that we encourage in our employees are underpinned by a performance and reward system.

The environment you’ll work in and the dress code in it will vary depending on your job – if you work in a branch, you’ll probably have a uniform, but in the offices it varies from everyday smart clothing to a suit and tie.

Our company structure is relatively flat. Our employees usually have regular contact with a company director. We’re really approachable and always open to ideas from employees. We have a diverse workforce – we think this can really help us to relate to our customers, and we use our diverse employees to help us make decisions. It’s a really positive place to work.


Our head offices in Glasgow, Leeds and London have cafeterias and we have kitchen facilities in all branches. We don’t have our own gyms but our employees get discounted gym membership, as well as lots of discounts for holidays and high street shops.


For school leavers

We welcome applications from school leavers and the most important things we’re looking for are passion and drive. The careers section on our website is the place to find out about our vacancies, from retail positions to customer service roles in our contact centres.

For graduates

We welcome applications from graduates but we don’t offer graduate programmes in all of our departments. There are different programmes available at different times across the business, so it’s best to have a look at the website to see what’s available – you can set up alerts to let you know what’s available.

Charity work

We work with a number of charitable organisations through our Community Partnership Programme. We focus on improving access to financial capability, education and inclusion in local communities – these are areas where we think we can really make a difference.

The Yorkshire and Clydesdale Bank Foundation has supported over 600 charities across the UK for more than two years. The grant-making charity has been supporting volunteering, upholding financial education and community development schemes. We encourage employees to volunteer and we can offer a number of Employee Volunteer Grants to help.

Training and benefits


When you join us, you’ll get training and support that’s specific to your job.

You will work with what we call a People Leader to create your own development plan. You might also do some classroom training or take part in e-learning courses, depending on your needs.

Everyone has to do some mandatory courses to work in financial services. All of our employees can access courses on the intranet to keep their professional development up to date.


Employees get competitive pay and benefits packages; they vary depending on your position.

We’re pretty flexible when it comes to things like career breaks, compassionate or life event leave. Our minimum annual leave is 25 days, along with public holidays, and there is also maternity, paternity, fertility and adoption leave available.

We have two competitive pension plans and a tax efficient incentive plan to help encourage employees to become shareholders. We also run a voluntary healthcare scheme where we offer medical insurance for employees. There are also benefits that we offer to help with childcare and we offer season ticket loans to help with travel.

And of course we offer our employees special rates on our products – everything from mortgages and loans to credit cards.

J.P. Morgan

The organisation

J.P. Morgan is a global company, serving the broad and varied needs of our many customers, including corporations, institutional investors, hedge funds, governments, and wealthy individuals in over 100 countries. We’re involved with asset management, finance, investment banking, operations and business services, sales, trading, research and technology.

We help our clients raise capital, advise them on their strategies and provide cutting-edge research. We develop complex and innovative product solutions to meet their requirements and help them restructure, invest and grow their wealth.


All of our locations provide staff with a modern and comfortable working environment, and employees are provided with access to a variety of facilities to suit their needs, wherever they’re based.

We are committed to helping our employees and their families live a healthy lifestyle and we offer tailored health packages, including ones to help manage health, to get yourself and your family fit, or to balance a busy lifestyle.

The culture

We may be 200 years old but we think of ourselves as a modern company and in terms of how we run things, we’re a really friendly company.

Teamwork is so important in everything we do and we go out of our way to create an environment where respect and fair play are extended to everyone who works here. Each year we run an employee survey which covers things like job satisfaction and employee training. We act on the feedback we receive.


For school leavers

We’re always on the lookout for driven, hardworking and intelligent young people. If you are interested in opportunities with us, visit the careers section of our website for a list of vacancies.

For graduates

We offer three month internships and full-time graduate opportunities to graduates in both our Glasgow and Edinburgh offices. Our Edinburgh office is home to the Strategic Centre of Excellence for UK Mutual Fund Administration and our Glasgow office houses our European Technology Centre.

We work closely with Scottish universities to advertise the opportunities we have available and the relationships that we’ve fostered over the years have helped us recruit a number of high calibre graduates.

Charity work

Our social and environmental initiatives bring together our business expertise, philanthropic commitments and employee outreach to have the broadest impact on the community. Through the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, J.P. Morgan is committed to working in partnership with non-profit organisations to respond to the deepening social need in the communities it serves.

Globally, the Foundation provides over $100million in grants on an annual basis to over 7,500 grant partners in the focus areas of Community Development, Education and Arts & Culture.

Through strategic partnerships with organisations, J.P. Morgan focuses its investments towards the most vulnerable people and supports sustainable programmes that have a clear and measurable impact. It's this approach that continues to drive its investment in high impact programmes across Europe, the Middle East & Africa with the provision of not only financial capital, but also the time and expertise of its employees.

J.P. Morgan has a long-standing philanthropic presence in Scotland. Over the years the firm has funded a number of projects through the Scottish Community Foundation, a financial literacy programme with the Stewart Ivory Foundation and arts education programmes with the Royal Academy of Music & Drama and Scottish Opera.

In response to local needs and partnering with Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse (FARE) in Glasgow and the Edinburgh Cyrenians, the firm has over the past few years significantly increased both its financial support and employee engagement programmes to address the key concerns of youth unemployment and homelessness (Edinburgh) and local gang rivalry (Glasgow).

Training and benefits


We believe in lifelong learning and have a real commitment to training. It doesn't stop after a couple of years, but continues so that you're ready for the many opportunities you'll face over the course of your career, wherever you may be. Our education programmes are one of the key reasons why people join us. We mix theory with practical and make learning accessible and career-focussed.

The benefits

Our benefits packages can be tailored to the specific needs of our employees. They include discount schemes, private pensions, bonuses and private healthcare schemes. Generous paternity and maternity schemes, travel ticket loans and a sabbatical policy to let people take extended breaks from work to maybe travel or achieve something in your personal life are often available too.

Lloyds Banking Group

The organisation

Lloyds Banking Group is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups. We provide a range of banking and financial services to individuals and all sorts of businesses. Our main areas of business are individual finances, commercial and corporate banking, general insurance, life assurance, pensions and investments.

The Group was formed in January 2009, following an acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB Group. We operate a number of international banking businesses and have operations in around 30 countries worldwide. Big names you may have heard of like Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Scottish Widows are all part of Lloyds Banking Group.


We want people who work here to have a good work-life balance. In 2009, Working Families, the work-life balance charity, put Lloyds TSB as one of the top twenty employers for working families - we were the only bank on the list.


We have offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Motherwell and Dunfermline, as well as locations on the outskirts of Edinburgh and branches throughout the country. All of our offices are open-plan, modern and spacious.

We try to make the offices good places to work – most have employee canteens, some have gyms, nursery facilities nearby and even have a pool table! A number of the more central locations have fewer facilities at the office, but there are some with great views and they’re closer to the shops!


For school leavers

We’re always looking for enthusiastic new members for our team. Because of the size of the organisation there’s always a range of different opportunities available. If you are interested in finding out about opportunities with us should visit the Lloyds Banking Group website and register your details.

For graduates

We actively recruit graduates. The most important qualities we look for are drive, focus and talent.

The best thing to do is apply online. The second stage in the application process is a telephone interview. Then you’ll have an interview in our Assessment Centre – at this point we want to find out what makes you tick. If we believe that you have what it takes, we'll waste no time in making you an offer.

Charity work

We do a lot of work with both charities and communities.

Last year we donated £29m through our charitable foundations to thousands of charities across the UK. In 2009 alone we invested £113m in communities across the UK.

We partnered the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and place a strong emphasis on sponsorship of sports, particularly for young people. Bank of Scotland supports the Great Scottish Run, the Midnight League and the Local Heroes programme this year.

What’s great is that anyone working in the Group can get involved in community activities. These might be team away days, a tree-planting project, or supporting our charity of the year.

Training and benefits


When you join the organisation you will get a full induction to help you understand the business, the systems, your role and responsibilities.

Making sure you have the skills you need is important to us, so employees get ongoing support throughout their time with us. We have a corporate learning facility that is one of the largest in Europe.

The benefits

We offer a really good rewards package to all our employees. Part of this is called Cash Reward, which is made up of salary, allowances and a range of other incentives.

When possible we’ll consider flexible working hours, and let employees choose between part-time work, job sharing or even varying the number of hours they work a day to compress their working week. We also offer a range of benefits like a pension, private medical care, company cars, share schemes and retail offers.


The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

The organisation

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Royal Bank of Scotland is a top-tier financial institution with businesses that span from major retail operations such as NatWest and Ulster Bank to award-winning investment banking operations – such as our Global Banking and Markets division. With a global presence, the RBS group also includes many other market-leading customer and financial brands. So, if you’re thinking about taking the next step in your career, then The Royal Bank of Scotland could be the place for you. The breadth of opportunities that RBS offers is vast; you might be surprised to find just where we can take you.


RBS delivers products and services to millions of customers across the world. It’s important that we are consistent in the way we do business, look after our customers and manage risks. Everyone who works for RBS has a responsibility to go about things in the right way; the statements below help everyone understand what that way is.

We understand our customers. We treat them fairly, look after their information and make sure our products offer value for money.

We value our people. We recruit, promote and pay based on performance.

We don’t tolerate discrimination.

We conduct ourselves in a way that protects our reputation. We conduct our business in a sustainable way – that means we are a responsible and engaged member of the community, providing reliable services and operating within all relevant laws and regulations.

We operate in a secure environment.

We understand who we’re doing business with and protect ourselves and our customers to minimise losses from fraud or error.

We understand and manage the risks we are taking. We identify and manage the level of risk we are prepared to take.

We protect the interests of the Group and our customers.

We manage our finances carefully. We use Group capital and resources effectively and account for our transactions properly.


As a global organisation with offices around the world and across Scotland, the facilities on offer to our staff vary according to the location that they are employed in.


For school leavers

As well as customer service opportunities available within branches or in a contact centre we run the Accelerate School Leaver Programme which covers the entire country, including Edinburgh. The programme equips candidates with the knowledge, skills and experiences to work in our UK Corporate Banking Division.

Based over two years, the Accelerate School Leaver Programme balances on-the-job training with formal development courses. You have a tailored induction in your chosen business area and the opportunity to study for a relevant professional qualification, paid for by RBS.

You'll need to have a total of 240 UCAS points or equivalent and if you have some relevant work experience such as customer service, this would be an advantage too.

For graduates

We offer a wide and varied choice of careers, which graduates will discover at RBS.

Programmes offered include: Business & Commercial Banking; Business Services Leadership; Chief Operating Office; Corporate & Institutional Banking; Global Banking & Markets; GBM Operations; GBM Technology; Global Restructuring Group; Global Transaction Services; Group Communications; Group Sourcing & Vendor Management; internships and placements; Marketing & Innovation; Private Banking & Advice; RBS Finance; RBS Risk; Retail Business Leadership; Security & Risk; Technology Services; Ulster Bank Group and Wealth Management.

We also offer a number of intern programmes which are a great way to gain an insight into the world of banking, get valuable work experience and technical training, and could help you secure a place on our graduate programme in the future.

For more information on our graduate and intern programmes and to apply online.

Charity work

We know how much your favourite causes matter to you and we’re here to help you make a difference to them. Whether that’s giving your time or your money, there’s an option for you.

The Group’s Employee Volunteering Programme provides over 40 activities for you and your colleagues to take part in, working with nine well-known charities in the UK. Payroll giving is available in the UK, Ireland, India and USA. We match every pound, euro, rupee and dollar employees donate through their monthly pay and it’s tax free.

Community Cashback supports employees’ efforts in their own time with a cash grant of £250 (or equivalent for your country). You decide which charities and community groups you want to volunteer and fundraise for and we provide the financial support to back your efforts.

Our employees also get involved with local charity work such as helping Barnardo's Portobello shop increase its turnover.

Training and benefits


We want to give you the tools and support to learn, develop your skills and progress in your career. From the day you enter the group you’ll create your own personal development plan which you’ll use to identify what you need to do to achieve your goals. You’ll have access to on-demand e-learning tools, training courses, professional qualifications, mentoring and secondments. Whatever you want to do and however you want to learn, we’re here to help you take your career to the next level.


Your reward doesn’t just stop at your monthly salary, it gives you access to a range of benefits that are flexible to suit your needs. Amongst many choices, you’ll have access to exclusive discounts and deals from big retailers, retirement savings plans, healthcare plans and the option to purchase additional holidays. There’s something for everyone.

We make it easy to take advantage of those options too. Using RBSelect, you can go online and make any changes to the mix of benefits you want right there and then.

Standard Life

The organisation

Standard Life is a savings, investments and pensions company. We're based in the UK and operate across the world, with businesses offering various financial products and services. We've been around since 1825, and today we provide life assurance, pensions and investment management to around six million customers worldwide.


Our offices are the starting point, designed to create open, pleasant environments that allow both personal space for the individual and interaction with others. On site we have healthy catering facilities, as well as coffee bars, and areas in which to take time out and relax. VIVO, our employee representative body in the UK, serves to look after your rights and needs within our working environment.


Everyone who works at Standard Life puts our customers first. Because when customers are at the heart of everything we do, we're truly an organisation that thrives and succeeds, now and in the future. At Standard Life, our culture is one of inclusion. Of working together to reach a common goal (happy customers) and of rewarding hard work and performance with benefits of real value.

We invest in our people, taking a whole view of each individual, their needs and how these can be met. We do this by being flexible, delivering performance, and acting with integrity. We want to be a better place to grow, protect our assets, and ensure each and every one of us does the right thing.


For school leavers

We're always happy to consider applications from school leavers however it helps if you have gained some work experience whilst you were at school. To find out about our current opportunities, please visit the careers section on our website.

For graduates

At Standard Life we believe everyone should have a future to look forward to. This is why we have dedicated graduate and internship programmes that provide a structured, supported route into a first class financial services career. With us you’ll find a career that suits your skills, and we will work with you to develop your talents and help you make your mark. From the start you’ll gain high quality experience that includes real work, real participation and real benefits.

Join us as a graduate and you'll get first-hand experience of how our programmes are designed to keep you challenged, stretched and inspired. Our graduate opportunities and internships are popular so if you're interested be sure to apply early - even before the closing date - as some areas will fill up quickly. The options are:

  • Accountancy
  • Actuarial
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Legal
  • Sales and Marketing

For more information see our graduate careers website.

Charity work

Our business has an impact on the communities we work in. It's our responsibility to give something back – and we've supported a range of community initiatives since 1992.

In 2010, we invested £5.9 million in the communities we work in, an increase of 84% (2009: £3.21 million). That's £636 for every person in our Group. This was due to a donation of £4 million being made to Standard Life Charitable Trust (SLCT).

Involving our people in community investment is important to us. It gives them the opportunity to share skills and knowledge – and it also helps them develop new skills.

Our people raise money for the Standard Life Charity Fund. And they support community projects like Step up in Life that helps young people make the transition from school to work. Working with the community helps us to support our people. Every year, our Chairman's Awards celebrate individuals and teams whose achievements make a difference in their communities.

We value employee volunteering. It benefits the communities we work in - and it gives our people opportunities to develop. The Chairman's Awards recognise our people's individual and group contributions to their local communities. We also present a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Fundraising. The winner and two runners-up in each category receive an award, as well as donations of £1,000 for winners, and £500 for runners-up for their chosen charity or community group.

Training and benefits


Whether you join us as a graduate or come to us from another company, at Standard Life we recognise that your career is your future - and our future depends on the development of your career. That's why working here isn't simply a job. It's a way of life that could last you a lifetime.

From your career development to your social life and hobbies, joining Standard Life will make a big difference to the way you work. We are very focused on training, and we will actively support you as you continue to learn. Equally, we encourage you to get involved in your community, in volunteering and fundraising, so that we can all give something back. And of course we want you to have fun, so we've built a staff community that promotes interaction, socialising and personal growth.

So your career here isn't dependent on your job. It's about what you put in, and what you will get back - and creating a future to look forward to.

We believe you learn and develop best with a 70-20-10 approach - so 70% comes from informal learning, such as real-life and on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving, secondments and so on, 20% comes from feedback and from observing and working with role models, and 10% comes from formal training.


Right from the start, your salary will be one of the best in the market for your role. We'll review it annually, and add performance-related bonuses based on how well the company does, and how much you contribute to that success. The package includes generous annual leave, a pension, and flexi-time (for some roles) as well as the opportunity to choose many other benefits. The full package is explained to you at your induction session.

Lifelens is our new employee wealth and benefits platform. It's the only fully integrated benefits platform, which lets employees manage their benefits, save and invest. Lifelens integrates seamlessly with our HR and payroll systems, and gives each employee a single, personalised view of all their benefits - and a snapshot of why Standard Life is a great place to work. Above all, it makes managing your own package at Standard Life easy and flexible.

Discover the people

  • Richard Elder

    Richard Elder
      Age: 23
      Role: General Management
      Employer: Lloyds Banking Group graduate programme
      Location: Edinburgh

    The graduate programme lets me do banking qualifications. There’s even the opportunity to travel to Dubai or New York.

    Monica Boyce
    Banking Adviser

    Tell us about the graduate programme at Lloyds Banking Group

    I’m with the General Management stream of the graduate programme, which includes a Human Resource stream, a Finance stream and a Business/Corporate stream. I work with Lloyds TSB Risk team and Lloyds TSB Mortgage Risk team. I generally work three days a week with the risk team and two with the mortgage team.

    My role involves risk reporting. Lloyds TSB Scotland is a separate legal entity so we have to create our own reports, own TCF (treating customers fairly) reports, complaints reports, reports back to the FSA and we perform the same risk reporting that the group would have to do but on a slightly smaller scale.

    What does your typical day involve?

    It’s not a typical 'day to day' job. It’s closer to month to month. On any given day I could be involved with meetings to do with treating customers fairly or group-wide agenda meetings that will affect Lloyds TSB Scotland that need to go into our reporting.

    I meet with people involved with the network, our branch system across Lloyds TSB Scotland, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. We share issues, discuss how complaints are dealt with and figure out one best way of dealing with them. These then get shared across the branch network.

    How did you find out about the graduate programme?

    I started looking for graduate jobs in my last year of uni. I did a degree in Accountancy and Finance at the University of Glasgow, and I was looking for places which had big offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Lloyds Banking Group really appealed to me because I could do placements spread across different areas of the bank and different locations.

    For example I had the opportunity to go to Europe and America. The first step was an online application and questionnaire. That determined your suitability for the job and the company culture. Then there were online logical, verbal and numerical tests.

    After that I got asked to go to a telephone assessment which was a competency-based interview. The final stage was an assessment centre. This included numerical and group tasks, a one-on-one interview with a senior member of staff and a ten minute presentation which you had to answer questions on. It was an intense day and after that was back home to wait to find out if I'd been successful.

    There were about 10-12 people in the assessment centre, and they took on about 120 graduates from my year. The whole process took about two months with about two weeks between each stage. I left uni with a job offer so it was worth the hard work.

    What does your next placement involve?

    I’ll be working within the branch network as a Regional Customer Service Coach. That will involve going round and helping customer service advisers and people who work in the branch network to improve the customer experience.

    What do you enjoy most about your placement?

    I enjoy the variety, as my job can change from month to month. You get the opportunity to really sink your teeth into different things and lead on projects. There are so many different tasks to get involved with.

    What do you enjoy the least?

    For me I’m not great in big group situations and I don’t enjoy getting up and giving presentations in front of large groups of people. It's something I haven’t done before, but its something I need to get used to. It’s about challenging yourself.

    What does it take to be successful?

    Being very open-minded. Go into things with an open mind and determination. Do your best and it will pay off with opportunities.

    The number of emails flooding into your inbox also means you have to be prepared and get things done. So, being organised is very important. A couple of lax days build up.

    What have you found surprising about working in financial services?

    The whole impression you have of banks and the seriousness behind them, that there’s not a jovial nature, but there are plenty of opportunities to have a good chat in the team and I suppose that surprised me. You’ve got the same people in here as you would meet in the street and have a laugh with at the weekend.

    What’s the lifestyle like on the graduate programme?

    Edinburgh is one of the central hubs of Lloyds Banking Group there are lots of graduates based here. We’ve got a five-a-side football team which I, along with some of the other first year graduates, take part in.

    We take part in charity days and organise charitable events for Lloyds Banking Group charity – this year it’s Save the Children – and we’re doing a charity shop volunteering day for our 'Day to Make a Difference'. There’s always plenty going on.

    Are there are any benefits?

    There are employee deals and because we’re such a large company we have daily colleague offers where companies offer us discounts. Today I bought an Apple TV for half price. We get perks like that.

    Some placements provide the opportunity to work with our business in other countries and a girl I know has done that. She’s travelled to New York and Dubai as part of her placement.

    If I want to do personal training at the gym, Lloyds Banking Group will pay half of it. If I want to learn French – even though they don’t have widespread French operations, they would pay half of it. There’s lots of stuff that’s not related to my job such as a dental plan and private medical plan. They give you 4% of our salary back to buy flexible benefits.

    They treat their employees very well.

    Is there any work-related training?

    The graduate programme lets me do a banking qualification through the IFS, for the HR Scheme you get to do the CIPD, for Corporate Markets it's CFI and Finance is CIMA. So you get to do a range of professional qualifications. We get five days off for each module, three of which are in the classroom, and two days off to study and we get the day of the exam off too.

    What does the future hold?

    I’d quite like to go into a customer-facing role. I came in here with a very narrow view of what’s involved in the bank. I had no idea about the variety of roles there were.

  • Monica Boyce

    Monica Boyce
      Age: 25
      Role: Banking Adviser
      Employer: Clydesdale Bank
      Location: Clydebank

    You expect everyone who works in financial services to be a bit snobby or posh, but in reality it’s just normal people who work in the banks.

    Kristopher Leyden
    Technology Graduate

    What does your job involve?

    I’m a banking adviser so basically we sell a wide range of different products to customers, but primarily we deal with people that have applied for personal loans online. So the first step is to process the application and then call the customer and discuss the application with them, then see if any of the other products that are in our product pool might benefit the customer.

    How did you get into your job?

    Well my friend works here and she let me know that there was a couple of vacancies in sales and customer service. I called the recruitment agency that was dealing with this and they got in touch with the bank on my behalf. I filled out the application form with the agency, and then I got an interview with the bank .

    What is your background?

    I left school and went to university to study teaching. And then I dropped out as a lot of people do! I wanted to get my own place and things like that. I decided to travel around a little bit so I spent quite a lot of time in France. I came back and started thinking about what sort of job I’m looking to get. I thought banking would be quite good as you can go in without any formal qualifications and still work your way up.

    Typical day in your life

    I start at 10am usually so I normally aim to get in about 9.30am, although it’s normally more like quarter to 10! And then I get all my folders ready – you need to do quite a lot of referring back to what different products are so you need to be quite organised. And then I normally have a cup of coffee!

    We have an admin team who make appointments for us to call customers that we haven’t been able to get the first time so I check what appointments I’ve got, call the customers and process the applications.

    What would you say was the most challenging part?

    We have targets to meet and sometimes finding the time to get everything done can be quite challenging, but they are quite flexible here and there is the option to come in and do overtime.

    Has anything surprised you about working in financial services?

    I suppose you expect everyone who works in financial services to be a bit snobby or posh and all rich and things, but in reality it’s just normal people who work in the banks, it’s not maybe the way it used to be 20 years ago.

    What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in financial services?

    It might be worthwhile to look at agencies to look for vacancies. It’s not unusual to start off on a temporary contract so that's nothing to worry about if that's what you are offered at the start.

    If you want to do well you need to work hard and you need to be committed, you could sort of plod along but you might not get anywhere and end up staying in the same role for years and years.

    What are the main benefits of working in the financial services sector?

    Well if you do well in your sales role then you do get bonuses, so that’s quite good motivation. You get access to an infinity card which gives you lots of discounts on holidays and things. There are also incentives like 'Performer of the Week' and 'Performer of the Month'.

    If you could have your time again would you do anything differently?

    Not really there are other areas of the bank that I would like to work in, but like other companies you have to work your way up. You need to start somewhere and build up the skills so you can do other jobs in the bank.

    What are the next steps?

    I want to move to our complaints department, customer engagement, one of my friends used to work there and she says it’s really good. I spoke to my manager about it and arranged a shadow day to go over there to make sure that I would like to move. So I’m just waiting for a spot to open up there and then I will apply for that.

  • Kristopher Leyden

    Kristopher Leyden
      Age: 28
      Role: Technology Graduate
      Employer: Clydesdale Bank
      Location: Glasgow & Clydebank

    Technology in financial services covers so many areas; you can do anything and everything.

    Joseph van de Kerkhof
    Procurement Specialist

    Tell us about the talent programme

    It’s a two year graduate scheme. It’s a leadership scheme as well as a graduate scheme. The idea is that by the end I’ll have a much broader set of skills, I’ll be able to adapt quickly to different situations, and I’ll be ready for a leadership role.

    My job changes every six months (actually, it’s different every day, but my role changes every six months!), I could be project-based, doing something technical or be in a role with a business flavour. The placement is really unique in that I get to work across the organisation, in different departments.

    What are your main tasks and responsibilities?

    They change depending on what I’m working on. Right now I’m working with a couple of external companies to change over some of our company’s equipment. I need to make sure that people know what’s going on and that we’re ready for the changes; then I work with the external companies to make a plan and make sure that it will work for us.

    How did you end up on the talent programme?

    I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started out doing a Computing Science degree at Glasgow Caledonian University, then changed course six times before finally coming back to computer engineering.

    The course offered a year’s placement in third year, but the onus is on you to go and sort it out – you need to go to recruitment fairs, email and phone companies to see if they’ll offer placements.

    I found out that National Australia Group (NAG) was recruiting and I applied.

    Talk us through the recruitment process?

    The original role I went for fell through, but I was persistent and kept calling them to see if there was anything else as I really wanted the work experience. They eventually got me in for a different role – I had to do a full day’s assessment.

    I found out that although they want you to get the answers right, a lot of it’s about seeing how you respond to the situations they put you under on the day. It's not just about knowledge, but your wider skills and personality.

    They know you’ll be nervous and they take that into account, but they also expect you to have done your homework and be confident about your answers.

    What’s the downside?

    It’s hard work. I’m really busy, and I’ve had to learn to be good at doing lots of things at once. Managing several tasks is the biggest challenge, there's support but it’s up to you to do it.

    What have you found most surprising about financial services?

    I work in financial services, but that doesn’t mean I need to know all about banks and mortgages. It’s a great industry for someone who’s enthusiastic and wants to shape their career. You could have the best grades and a brilliant CV, but I think being pro-active will get you much further. The range and scope of the work is brilliant. I work in technology, and I get to work at the cutting edge of it – it’s never boring.

    What advice would you give someone who wanted your job?

    Don’t expect it to fall into your lap – you need to go out and get it.

  • Joseph van de Kerkhof

    Joseph van de Kerkhof
      Age: 24
      Role: Procurement Specialist
      Employer: RBS - Graduate Programme
      Location: Edinburgh

    My image of banks before I joined was that it would be more formal, more strict...a bit old school almost. And it really isn’t!

    Craig Munro
    Pensions Administrator

    How did you get this job?

    I was interested in working in procurement in Scotland. I visited the Graduate website and saw they had a graduate programme that really appealed to me.

    Can you tell us a bit more about the graduate programme?

    It’s a scheme that lasts 18 months, during which time you have the opportunity to undertake three different roles for six months each.

    What was the interview process like?

    I applied at the end of November, had an telephone interview in January then the assessment centre took place in March. I was then notified by telephone to tell me I had been successful in my application.

    What did you study at university?

    My Masters degree was in Supply Chain Management. I also have a Bachelors Degree in Finance.

    So, you always wanted to work in finance then?

    Yeah, I liked banking and everything associated with it. RBS is one of the largest companies in the world and that appealed to me.

    What does your job in procurement involve?

    We essentially get contracts in place for whatever the bank needs that we cannot provide for ourselves. That could be anything.

    I'm currently working on contracts for the delivery of documentation to our clients as well as a rather complex project involving payment transactions, this involves the eurozone area, so is very different for me.

    Do you have the opportunity to travel?

    There’s lot of opportunity to travel, I regularly visit London and Holland, and I’m going to Germany soon. It’s an international environment that we work in.

    We need to look not only internally, but also what’s out there in the international market. That’s one of the reasons I chose this job, you get to meet a lot of different people and see a lot of different places.

    When not travelling, what’s a typical day like in the office?

    Most of my day revolves around responding to emails and setting up contracts. Working with global companies, who are on different time zones means they are working while we are sleeping, so there’s always something happening!

    There is a lot of research involved to get the right supplier for your project. This involves talking to colleagues to discuss exactly what they need, then looking to see what suppliers can meet our needs. We can then start negotiations.

    What do you think it takes to be successful in the financial services sector?

    Being open with colleagues and customers, as well as being flexible. You also need to be convincing, people have to believe in what you are saying. Listening and asking the right questions is key.

    Is there anything that has surprised you about working in the finance sector?

    My image of banks before I joined was that it would be more formal, more strict...a bit old school almost. And it really isn’t! Yes, I wear a tie to work, but it’s much more modern and progressive than I’d imagined it. I really like it!

    What’s the culture/work environment like?

    Within the department it’s relaxed, but can be more formal when you are meeting clients and stakeholders.

    And what’s the social culture like at RBS?

    It’s very good. There are ten of us who started the graduate programme together. You bond with these people as you have all gone through the same thing. Everyone here is open and willing to help when you’re new and they appreciate you’re learning.

    There’s a lot of social elements. I was part of the support team for the Caledonian Challenge, in order to fund this you needed to do some fundraising, this involved things like a ceilidh and a race night. We meet socially for drinks or a movie.

    Do you get involved in any charity work?

    As part of the graduate programme we helped build a garden out at a local mental health unit in Edinburgh. RBS has a community investment programme so it’s important to them.

    Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of working in the financial services sector?

    Do it! It’s a good environment, banks touch upon everything. Think of anything that we do, anything that we may buy, banks are involved in one way or another, banks play a central role in society. It’s a lot bigger, broader and more diverse than a lot of people think.

  • Craig Munro

    Craig Munro
      Age: 20
      Role: Pensions Administrator
      Employer: Lloyds Banking Group
      Location: Edinburgh

    I was in fifth year, doing my Highers and Intermediate 2s at the time, and I just decided to go for it.

    Carrie McFarlane
    Loans Officer

    As a pensions administrator, what are your main tasks and responsibilities?

    My job has a lot of variety. I administer pensions for new and existing businesses. I put new applications into the system, send out policy information letters, perform fund switches and make changes to investments on behalf of policy holders.

    I sometimes have to make calls to independent financial advisors (IFAs) and policy holders. No two policies are ever the same so my job changes every day.

    How did you get into financial services?

    I left school at the end of February and started here in March. I started two days after I turned 17. The department I was recruited for was offering a new service and at the start of 2008 there was a massive recruitment drive. Loads of other people started at the same time as me - there were ten people on my training team.

    I was in fifth year at school, doing my Highers and Intermediate 2s, at the time and I just decided to go for it. The interview wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. They told me in April or May that I was doing really well, and that they were taking on more school leavers who all started in August. It’s quite a young department and the product is new too, so it’s exciting.

    Can you tell us about a typical day?

    I leave the house about 7.50am. I get the bus here for about 8.15am. The first thing I do is log in to my computer, then I check my emails to see if there’s any that I need to answer, and check my calendar for any reminders. We use a system that sends us through the work items we have that day, so I check that next. A lot of what my team does is general administration work, like change of address, and letters regarding policy information.

    We have team meetings every couple of weeks where everyone gets together and talks over things that have come up. They’ve changed the teams recently, so now we’re more specialised – there’s not as much variety every day, but we can do our bit of the process better than before.

    I take half an hour for lunch and leave work at 4pm. Our managers can be flexible if we need to go a little early or start a bit later on occasion – and we get good holidays too.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    A big part of my job is customer satisfaction. A customer might be going to complain, but we speak to them and help resolve the problem. It’s a pretty good place to work and the people are good. The managers are strict, when they need to be, but most of the time they’re quite relaxed and you can talk to them in the same way you would with anyone else.

    What is the most challenging thing about your job?

    It’s a pretty good place to work and the people are good. The job can get a bit repetitive from time to time, but that's it. There’s nothing I don’t enjoy.

    What does it take to be successful in your area of financial services?

    You need a high level of concentration and good attention to detail. When you’re being trained you need to be able to pick things up quickly and have good listening skills.

    Is your job typically 9 to 5?

    I do seven hours a day, but it’s not always 9 to 5. We have a Saturday phone rota which happens from 9am–12.30pm. Three and a half hours on the phone isn’t bad because you get a half day off the next week. You still do 35 hours a week and there’s overtime as well, especially near the end of the tax year.

    Have you found anything surprising about working in financial services?

    I thought working in pensions would be complicated but it’s pretty straightforward, after you’ve done your training. There’s always someone there to offer advice.

    What’s the company culture like?

    Our managers sit with us, so we know them all, they’re really just like another colleague – you can go and talk to them about your weekend as well as about work. They’re really approachable!

    And the people in my department are really good and there are quite a lot of work nights out. There are a few pubs nearby and we all tend to go out on a Friday. It’s a nice place for young people to work.

    What advice would you offer anyone who wants to work in financial services?

    Give it a try. It’s rewarding. It’s matured me and given me a lot more responsibility. I’d recommend it.

  • Carrie McFarlane

    Carrie McFarlane
      Age: 22
      Role: Loans Officer
      Employer: Capital Credit Union
      Location: Edinburgh

    I like being on the phone, I like chatting to people, and I like working as part of a team.

    Aideen O'Leary
    Product Manager

    What do you do? What are your main tasks and responsibilities?

    We’re in a pretty small team – there are only three of us. We do a first assessment of a loan when it first comes in. We log it, credit reference it, and see if we need any more information. This depends on how much the loan is for. Then we assess it and do the payouts for the loans.

    How did you come to find yourself in financial services?

    While I was at school I used to work part-time in a pub. After I left school I studied childcare at college. I stayed there for two years and finished the course, but I decided that it wasn’t really for me.

    I heard about the job from one of the girls that worked there, I worked with her mum and she told me about the position. I applied and then I got called for an interview.

    Tell us about your typical working day.

    In the morning I have my filing to do. The office doesn’t open until 10am but the phone lines are open from nine so we help answer the phones. After that I just organise the loans and divide them up between the three of us. We’re pretty much on the same level and we usually know what we’re doing that day. For the majority of the day we assess the loans, while we answer the phones.

    What do enjoy most about your job?

    I like being on the phone, I like chatting to people and I like working as part of a team. I like all of us doing our share. There aren’t many of us so we know each other pretty well. We all muck in. There’s nothing that I don’t like, not really.

    What do you like least?

    If I had to say one thing, it would be the morning commute. I have to take the bus and then get the park and ride which can take a while.

    What does it take to be successful in financial services?

    Communication with your colleagues. That’s the most important thing you need, definitely.

    Have you found anything surprising about working in financial services?

    A lot of the back office and finance stuff. I remember first starting and finding we had to run everything off in batches. When I first started, I didn’t have a clue; it was just rubbish to me. Now I know everything.

    Are there any benefits?

    We get employee loans that are at a lower interest rate and we can save money off our salary every month which is really handy. We get employee car loans too and there’s a health insurance package too.

    What would you like the next stage in your career to be?

    I enjoy it here, so I’ll probably stay for a couple more years. I’ve always been really interested in cars and car sales. I was quite keen to get into that when I left school but I didn’t have the experience. I’ve done the lending and the finance side of the job so if I applied for that type of job in the future my experience would be really useful.

    What’s the lifestyle like at Capital Credit Union?

    Every payday we go to the pub. One of the guys is leaving tomorrow so we’ll all go to his drinks do. Whenever we have planning seminars we all go for dinner and drinks afterwards. We’re trying to have more frequent meetings together, where some of the older members of the team can get involved. At the moment, bowling is proving to be the most popular.  

  • Aideen O'Leary

    Aideen O'Leary
      Age: 28
      Role: Product Manager
      Employer: Citi
      Location: Edinburgh

    Out of all the candidates I was the one with the least financial knowledge who didn’t have a business background, but I was chosen because of my soft skills.

    Sammy Brown
    Bank Officer

    What does your role involve?

    As a product manager I liaise with clients and internal parties. It’s a relationship role, but it also involves business management.There's a lot of variety, something can come up during the day that becomes priority and I have to drop everything else, and go and work on that. I work with a range of big clients on investor services products including fund accounting, global custody, middle office and securities finance.

    How did you get this job?

    I studied french and geography at university and decided to move to France after my degree. I did work experience in the European parliament, and worked for Tourism Ireland. I wanted to do a post grad in a subject different to my degree so I found a finance course in Dublin for non-business graduates, then I decided to look for graduate schemes. I was looking for an international bank because I wanted to have the opportunity to move around. I joined Citi in Dublin in 2008 and since then I have done 18 months in Dublin. The last of my rotations was in London and after that I moved to Edinburgh.

    What was the recruitment process like?

    The first part of the process was an online maths ability test. After that it was onto the assessment centre. I was given a case study and had to write a summary of the case study, and prepare a presentation. During the course of the day I had four separate interviews with three directors and one person from HR. Then I had a group interview with other managers observing how we interacted with each other and how we worked together. I had a voicemail when I got home and they had made a decision straight away. The feedback that I got was that out of all the candidates I was the one with the least financial knowledge who didn’t have a business background, but I was chosen because of my soft skills. I suppose there is a minimum ability when it comes to numbers, but it’s not the be all and end all.

    What’s a typical day like for you?

    I don’t know if I have a typical day! I track my own list of actions. My manager is partly based out of London so I don’t see him all the time – I think that’s quite common at Citi. I go through my list in the morning and see what I have on. This morning I had a call at 7am, from someone in the Middle East. After that I had to prepare a presentation for our monthly business review. Then, some of the sales team from London are up, I know them because I worked on a pitch with them before. So I met with them to discuss another pitch they’re doing today.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I really enjoy talking to people. I also enjoy doing financial analysis because it’s quite testing on your brain. If I wasn’t challenged on a daily basis I don’t think I could be happy.

    What do you enjoy the least?

    Sometimes its more difficult to get things done just because of the size of Citi, but that’s probably the only thing.

    What qualities do you need to succeed?

    I think you have to be determined, you have to be positive, and very good at networking. And hardworking!

    What’s the culture at Citi like?

    Citi believes in having a diverse mix of people. I think it works because you don’t have the same types of people making decisions. You don’t have the same types of people working in teams. Team work is very important here. Respect is also very much emphasised, it’s a respectful place. It can be fun of course, but respect and diversity are the two things that are very important. The other thing is being client-centric. There is a big focus on that because obviously we have a service to provide, and that's the aim of Citi bank.

    Do you get involved in any charity work?

    Everyone is encouraged to do volunteer days so that’s something everyone is entitled to take time off for.

    What are the benefits like?

    For me, the global aspect of Citi is important. I don’t know where I’d like to settle or if I’d like to move somewhere else, but I like the fact there’s more of an opportunity through Citi. There’s a big focus on the Middle East, and I also went to Israel recently so it's very interesting.

  • Sammy Brown

    Sammy Brown
      Age: 21
      Role: Bank Officer
      Employer: Airdrie Savings Bank
      Location: Airdrie

    You need to be able to help. You need to be understanding and see things from another perspective.

    John Howison
    Nav. Valuation Manager

    What does a bank officer do?

    I serve the customers and open up new accounts, deal with link card problems and order new cards for customers. If they need duplicate pins they come in here too.

    What is a typical day like?

    In the morning, the first thing I do is set up my till and get everything ready for 9am when the first customers arrive. Then, it’s just a case of dealing with the customers and managing the queue, sorting out transactions and cheques and answering phone calls.

    Is it busy?

    It can get busy. There are usually morning and lunchtime rushes. I help customers out the front when it’s busy, but if it’s quieter I have other tasks that I do behind the scenes away from the customers. We take turns at both so that everybody gets time to get everything done.

    How did you get this job?

    I left school and was thinking about going to uni. I saw the job was advertised in the newspaper. I hadn’t really planned things out but the managers and the supervisors told me about the banking exams, so I realised there was another way to develop instead of going to uni. It looked really good and it gives me the chance to train to become a chartered banker.

    Have you started the banking exams?

    I have, I’ve done my Professional Banker Certificate. I’ve finished that and I’m in the middle of doing my diploma. I’ve done one exam and I’ve got one to go. You choose which sections you want to do. I chose banking operations this time. I really enjoy it, and because I’m working in a bank I already know some of it, so it’s not too bad. I study after work, but I get days off to do exams. I work from home, but I go to university to take exams. The topics cover a lot of things I am already doing in work.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I would say working with people. I’m quite chatty. I’ve got the gift of the gab so I just chat away. One day is different from the next. It can sometimes be difficult dealing with different people but then it’s good too. Things are updated a lot and every problem is different so you learn new things too.

    What do you think it takes to be successful in the financial services sector?

    You need to be able to work with people and listen to them. If you can’t do that you’re never going to be able to understand where someone is coming from. People come to the bank for help and you need to be able to give them that. You need to be understanding and see things from another perspective while being able to meet the requirements of the bank.

    If you could start again would you do anything differently?

    I don’t think so. I enjoy the bank and some of the people I work with have become really good friends.

    What are your plans for the future?

    Once I’ve got the Chartered Bankers Certificate, more opportunities will become available to me. One day, I’ll be the boss!

  • John Howison

    John Howison
      Age: 32
      Role: Nav. Valuation Manager
      Employer: JP Morgan
      Location: Edinburgh

    I enjoy not knowing what's going to happen each morning, every day something crops up. I like challenging myself and the team to deliver on a daily basis.

    Jyotsna Mirchandani
    Senior Administrator

    Can you give us a summary of your key tasks and responsibilities?

    My team produces prices daily for the investment funds that we are responsible for, we have a client who outsources the production of these prices to us. We produce the prices, validate them and issue them to the client and to the market on a daily basis.

    So my role is overseeing that process, making sure that it is as efficient as possible, the prices are accurate and we deliver on time. I also deal with the client directly so I am essentially a client relationship manager as well – I deal with all the questions and problems they may have.

    How did you get into this job?

    I did a Mechanical Engineering degree at Edinburgh University and decided at the back of that that I didn’t actually want to be an engineer. I had a lot of friends in the financial services industry so it seemed natural living in Edinburgh to go down that route.

    I initially took a temp role within a financial company, really quite far down the ladder. I have worked in four different organisations, just working my way up and gaining experience. I’ve been at JP Morgan now for more than five years so it has really been a learning cycle and a learning process gaining experience in the industry to get to where I am now.

    Did you have to any training or professional qualifications?

    I’ve done four or five exams in the last ten or so years. To get to the level that I am now you have to have taken at least three exams. It’s not too difficult studying and working, most companies will give you a few days around the exam time to swot up.

    A lot of the exams are based around information that you need to know for your daily work anyway so you are learning things that have a direct effect on your daily life, so it makes it quite relevant.

    Do you travel a lot for work?

    Periodically depending on projects we are working I will be in Luxembourg, London and Bournemouth. I haven’t yet been much further afield than that, but I keep asking, maybe one day they will let me!

    What would you say you enjoyed the most about your job?

    Currently I have quite diverse role in terms of managing a group of people through what can be quite challenging times. I really enjoy that, I enjoy not knowing what challenges you are going to get each morning, every day something crops up. I like having things that deliver on a daily basis and challenging myself, and the team, to deliver those.

    What would you say you like the least, or find the most challenging?

    The environment that we work in now and the structure can be quite spread out. So we are dealing daily with guys in the States, in India, down south and in Europe.

    So there is a lot of different people that you deal with, that makes it very interesting, but it also means that there are a lot of dependencies on other people as well. That is probably one of the more frustrating things if it doesn’t work smoothly.

    What skills does someone need to succeed in financial services?

    Communication is important as you always have to speak to people, be it the client or your colleagues in different part of the world. You have got to be able to communicate both verbally and written, the number of emails that we have to deal with daily is scary actually!

    Attention to detail is also important, it’s an industry where there is a very small margin for error so you have to be working and striving for 100% accuracy on everything that you do.

    What is the culture/work environment like?

    It’s a friendly company and a friendly industry as well, because there are so many locations around the world if people in certain places weren’t friendly it would be difficult to pick up the phone and deal with them, that isn’t the case everyone is really friendly and helpful.

    What advice would you give to wants to work in financial services?

    To succeed and do well you need to challenge yourself and challenge the processes. It's an industry that has changed dramatically in the relatively short time that I have been in it and that is all because people challenge it and people push it. You will succeed if you have that ability to push it in the right direction.

    There is a lot of competitiveness out there, constant high pressure and if you like that and are driven by that then it is extremely rewarding, but it doesn’t suit everybody. I wouldn’t want to sit and not get challenged, I wouldn’t see the point in leaving the house.

  • Jyotsna Mirchandani

    Jyotsna Mirchandani
      Age: 27
      Role: Senior Administrator
      Employer: BNP Paribas Securities Services
      Location: Glasgow

    It’s very challenging and there’s always a lot to learn. Working with so many different people and teams – in Glasgow, London and Chennai – is very interesting.

    Lisa Jack Bailey
    Marketing Officer

    What does your role involve?

    As a senior administrator, I’m involved in supervising and checking the processing of all corporate action events. I'm responsible for monitoring cash and stock breaks on a daily basis, and I also undertake regular reviews of procedures.

    In my role it's crucial to promote strong working relationships with clients and each day I spend some time responding to their queries. It’s also important to build productive and positive relationships with other business units and third parties.

    How did you get into this role?

    Maths was one of my favourite subjects at school. I did a Masters in Investment Banking and Finance at Glasgow University. When I graduated, I joined Morgan Stanley. Then I moved here as an administrator and was promoted two months ago.

    Is there any such thing as a typical day?

    Yes. As a senior administrator, I sign off on various funds throughout the day, so I follow a standard routine. We must do everything according to the deadlines, so that all corporate action events are processed in time – by 9.15am, 9.45am, 10am etc.

    Once the corporate action administrators have done the processing, I check the events, release the transactions on our accounting system, and sign off the various funds.

    What was the recruitment process like?

    The BNP Paribas recruitment process was pretty straightforward. I didn’t have any corporate action experience. But both interviews focused more on soft skills – like communication and team working – and on demonstrating accuracy, which is crucial to the role.

    Coming from a finance background does help, because you understand how the financial services industry operates. But it’s not a prerequisite to get into the role – you can learn when you’re in the post as well.

    What training did you have?

    BNP Paribas has an induction programme, covering the financial services industry in general. Then, for the first few months, I shadowed someone who performed the same function. If you want to build your knowledge in a specific area of banking, there are courses you can do at any time. Some are online, so you can go at your own speed.

    What do you enjoy most about the role?

    It’s very challenging and there’s always a lot to learn. Working with so many different people and teams – in Glasgow, London and Chennai – is very interesting.

    What’s the greatest challenge?

    At times things can be difficult, but you can escalate any problems, to your team leader, for example. You should never find yourself in a situation where you have to handle something you’re uncomfortable with.

    What does it take to be successful in your role?

    As it’s a deadline-driven environment, it’s really important to manage your time effectively and prioritise what’s needed soonest.

    What advice would you offer someone wanting to work in financial services?

    Make sure that you’re willing to put in the hours if you plan to join a team where a long working day is typical. Some roles are more demanding than others.

  • Lisa Jack Bailey

    Lisa Jack Bailey
      Age: 27
      Role: Marketing Officer
      Employer: Capital Credit Union
      Location: Edinburgh

    I’d never held a full marketing position before, but in every job I had asked for marketing tasks to do. I was a teenage mum, so I had responsibilities that sometimes restricted my choices. But I persevered and finally got here.

    Chloe McDonald
    Customer Service Officer

    What are your main tasks and responsibilities?

    My role is to promote Capital Credit Union. It’s quite a difficult task – before we can sell the credit union, we first need to educate people about what it is. It’s also about communicating the right messages to our staff, as they sell the credit union too.

    Word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread our message. At the moment I’m looking at a menu card to put on canteen tables as a talking point. We also send out newsletters, run awareness days, and update our website and literature to help start conversations.

    How did you get into this role?

    I was desperate to get into marketing. I studied business management but chose the marketing option wherever possible. I’d never held a full marketing position before, but in every job I took on marketing tasks. I was a teenage mum, so I had responsibilities that restricted my choices. But I persevered and finally got here.

    What was the recruitment process like?

    I had two interviews. In the first I was asked straightaway to write a press release. I didn’t think it was that great, but then I was called back for a second interview. I did do a lot of research into credit unions, but I think it was as much about my cultural fit with the organisation.

    Is there any such thing as a typical day?

    Never. What I do each day depends on the different projects I’m working on. Marketing admin was my only routine task, but we now have a part-time admin officer to do that.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    No two days are ever the same, and I get to be creative. It’s challenging to think of different ways to promote and sell loans, especially during times like these.

    What's the greatest challenge?

    You have to be thick skinned if you’re trying out something new and it doesn’t quite have the impact you’d hoped for. You must stay positive and not let it get you down.

    What does it take to be successful in your role?

    To begin with, understanding what a credit union is. Accuracy is also important. We’re in a heavily regulated industry, so we must be sure that the messages we communicate are right.

    Did anything surprise you about working in financial services?

    I had thought it would be dull, but it’s not. Credit unions definitely took me by surprise

    Is your job typically 9 to 5?

    Yes. But next week I have a 6pm meeting to discuss creating a credit union for a church. I’ll get time off in lieu.

    What's the company culture like?

    We’re very much a friendly, ethical organisation and it shows. When I send out a newsletter and the phones start ringing off the hook, the whole team is very much all hands on deck.

    What advice would you offer someone wanting to work in financial services?

    I had a fear that the work would involve numeracy skills. But even the people who work behind the counter don’t deal with a lot of figures. A lot of people I know in Edinburgh work in financial services, and you see many people make a lifetime career out of it.

    Have you had much training?

    My boss had to leave soon after I joined, so I had a month’s worth of training and then ran the marketing department until a replacement was found. You can’t learn something properly without doing it. I was quite lucky to be chucked in at the deep end.

  • Chloe McDonald

    Chloe McDonald
      Age: 18
      Role: Customer Service Officer
      Employer: Clydesdale Bank
      Location: Glasgow

    Everyone has helped me achieve things and the job is really nice. There’s always been someone to help. If you’re willing to work, you’ll go far.

    John McMillan
    Assistant Manager, Business Dev.

    As a customer service officer what are your tasks and responsibilities?

    Every day we have a meeting, first thing, where we go over what we’ll be doing and our targets for the day. Just before 9am we set up for the day.

    The day really starts when the customers come in. For most of the day I’ll be dealing with customers, helping them with their problems and trying to get them the best benefits. We get lots of coaching and help from mortgage and banking advisers who give us tips on helping customers.

    On a typical day I might also go out and do letters, teleconsultancy, send faxes and retrieve cash. At 5pm the keys come out and the big front doors are closed. We then lock up and sort out the mail for the mail room around the corner.

    Did you go into the job straight from school?

    No, I stayed on for fifth year and did my Highers and then I went into sixth year. I only stayed a few months and decided to apply for university. I was going to do a teaching course, but I was a bit worried because there weren’t that many jobs around at the time.

    I just thought what’s the point of going through all that, and maybe getting myself into debt, without a definite job at the end of it?

    I decided that the perfect thing to do was to study part-time and work at the same time. So, I applied for an Open University languages course. A relative of mine works at the bank and I asked her if she knew about any vacancies. I looked at the website and sent in my application.

    What was the recruitment process?

    I sent in my CV. It took a wee while, but I got a call asking if I was still interested in the job and when I was free for a telephone interview.

    The telephone interview covered things like where I’d worked before, my experience, my hobbies, school, those sorts of things. I heard back almost straight away after that. They rang me up and invited me to come in for a face-to-face interview. This was a lot more formal. I had to do a numeracy and written test. I was nervous but I just did it bit by bit.

    After that, they called me to let me know that I’d got the job. The first person I called was my mum - I was over the moon!

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I like helping the public, it gives me a lot of satisfaction to know I’ve helped people. There are so many people, of all different ages, it’s not like school. I’ve learned different skills and I’ve achieved a lot. I started here when I was 17, so I feel like I’ve grown up a lot.

    Anything you don’t like about your job?

    There’s not really anything that I don’t like. Everyone has helped me achieve things as well and the job is really nice. There’s always been someone to help. If you’re willing to work, you’ll go far.

    What do you need to be successful?

    You need to be good at speaking to people, not just the customers, but the people who work in the branch too. You need to be articulate. You need to understand computers and different things like that but, basically, it’s all about communication, being polite, and manners matters too.

    Has anything surprised you?

    I’ve learned a lot about fraud, which I had never really thought about before.

    Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into this type job?

    I would say, try to get a bit of an understanding of the bank and do your research. If you’re not too good at communicating, try and learn, maybe do something like volunteering, where you get introduced to different people.

    What would you say are the main benefits to your job?

    You get employee rates on certain accounts. I know that with mortgages you get better rates and on some accounts you get benefits. Employees also get discounts through the Clydesdale Bank’s Affinity Rewards scheme.

  • John McMillan

    John McMillan
      Age: 28
      Role: Assistant Manager, Business Dev.
      Employer: Airdrie Savings Bank
      Location: Airdrie

    It feels good when you put a deal in place that you are happy with and a customer wants to come back to the bank.

    Alexandra Hope
    Customer Service Representative

    As an assistant manager what does your job involve?

    My job is to attract people to the bank. They might want to open a new account, deposit money, or they might be looking for a loan. I would either go to speak to them at their premises or they would come in to our offices. Hopefully I can help them and they’ll come and bank with us.

    If a customer makes an appointment what do they want to talk about?

    Ninety percent of the time, customers are looking for a loan for their business or to build a house. Any kind of lending is the most common thing and then it would be new accounts.

    How did you get into your job?

    I sent my CV to the head office in Airdrie saying that I was interested in getting into financial services. They came back to me and said that there might be an opening for me and asked if I could attend an interview. I got a job at a branch in Baillieston, as a teller, and after a few years I moved to Airdrie branch.

    I sent my CV to several banks and Airdrie Savings Bank came back to me quickly. Infact, the whole process was quite quick. I was in luck they had a position open at that time.

    What made you think about financial services?

    I was in a bit of a quandary. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, to be honest with you. I was at university doing computer science and I didn’t really enjoy that so I decided just to get out, work and get some experience. And I was always interested in money and how businesses worked.

    How did you rise to the level of assistant manager, business development?

    I started on a counter, helping customers, dealing with their enquiries, taking cash and I worked my way up from there. I worked in the first branch for over two years and then I was moved around different branches to get more experience.

    I stayed at the Airdrie branch for nine months and then I was moved to the credit services department, where they specialise in assessing loans.

    An opening for an assistant manager’s position came up and I was fortunate enough to get the job.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I like speaking to people; you meet people from different walks of life, so it’s interesting doing that. I think that’s the most enjoyable part. It feels good when you put a deal in place that you are happy with and a customer wants to come back to the bank.

    Are there any downsides?

    Sometimes the customers can be the hardest part of the job too. You have to go with your head and not be swayed. Sometimes it’s not good for the bank to give out a loan and it’s difficult telling a customer you like that they can’t get a loan.

    What do you think it takes to have a successful career within financial services?

    You’ve got to have a head for figures. The customer service part of it is also very important. You need to be able to communicate with people; you won’t get very far without that. That’s a key aspect.

    What’s surprised you about working in financial services?

    There’s more going on than you think. When you walk into a bank, as a customer, you don’t see everything that’s going on in the background. You just walk in and do your business and that’s it. There’s is so much admin and different paper work that has to be carried out.

    If you could start from scratch would you do anything differently?

    I would go straight into working in the bank, rather than spending six months at university. Going there made me realise that I wanted to go straight into work, but I wouldn’t change anything about actually joining the bank.

  • Alexandra Hope

    Alexandra Hope
      Age: 21
      Role: Customer Service Representative
      Employer: Standard Life
      Location: Edinburgh

    People can be put off by the term ‘financial services’. But it’s probably not what you expect at all. It’s a really good platform for starting out.

    Kara Gilroy
    People Function Graduate Trainee

    What does your role involve?

    Dealing with the customer, either on the phone or by mail. General servicing work involves address updates and answering pension scheme members’ questions. Employers might call you to change employees’ contributions. We also have independent financial advisers contacting us about funds and contracts. I’m working towards becoming a team manager. So I’m also a work allocation representative and a call coach. I manage who does what within the team, and I sample people's calls and give them feedback on how to improve.

    How did you get into this role?

    When I left school I got a temporary data input job at Standard Life. Then I saw my current role advertised internally and went for it. Qualification-wise it wasn’t a difficult role to get. I was tested on my maths and English skills, but they were just looking for a basic level of competence to build on with training.

    Tell us about a typical day

    I try to get in before 9am so that I can run reports to see how much work we have. Then I can see who’s available to take on what. From 9am to 10am, I speak to everyone on the team to set expectations for the day. After that I try to work through my own stuff. Just now I have monies work to do, dealing with the contributions for big schemes. I try to fit in an hour of call coaching every week. Since I’m also a employee representative for the area, urgent meetings sometimes crop up. Throughout the day I’ll be answering the phones as well.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    It’s varied and I’m really busy. Working towards a team manager role means I’m learning a lot, for instance, how to handle difficult people within a team. There are lots of other opportunities too; I’ve been able to sit the Certificate in Financial Planning and an SVQ.

    What's the greatest challenge?

    Learning how to deal with tricky customers. I used to go into panic mode if someone shouted at me down the phone. How I deal with it now is completely different.

    What does it take to be successful in your role?

    You need to be motivated to push yourself. Unfortunately there isn’t space for everyone to get ahead. You need to do the best job you can to stand out.

    Did anything surprise you about working in financial services?

    I thought it would be really stuffy and involve a lot of numeracy work and sitting on the phones all day. It’s not like that at all. The role has given me a lot of experience. If I did want to look for another job, a whole range of areas is open to me.

    What advice would you offer someone who wants to work in financial services?

    Go for it. People can be put off by the term ‘financial services’. But it’s probably not what you expect at all. It’s a really good platform for starting out. I thought I’d only be here for a year; it’s been five years now. I was extremely lucky to fall into the industry. It’s well paid for my age as well – I’m much better off than my mates.

    What does the future hold for you work-wise?

    In five years time, I’d hope to be in or really close to taking on a team manager role. It appeals to me because it’s what I’m good at – leading people and organising things, knowing who’s doing what and making sure that the work gets done.

  • Kara Gilroy

    Kara Gilroy
      Age: 22
      Role: People Function Graduate Trainee
      Employer: Standard Life
      Location: Edinburgh

    It is a financial company, but it certainly isn’t all numbers and spreadsheets and data crunching. There are roles throughout the business to suit different skill sets.

    Katie Ferguson
    Technical Claims Adviser

    What are your main tasks and responsibilities?

    I’m not on the HR frontline answering colleague’s queries. Instead I sit back of house. I’ve just finished my first six month placement, a strategic role looking at building our capability for the future. My new placement involves rebuilding our staff intranet from the ground up.

    How did you get into this role?

    I did law at uni, so applying for graduate programmes in financial services companies wasn’t perhaps the standard route. Midway through my degree, I decided that law wasn’t the career for me. I wanted something faster-paced. Standard Life is so big on the Edinburgh skyline, its grad programme was an obvious choice, and HR stuck out for me right away. It’s really exciting to work for a business that’s changing as quickly as Standard Life.

    What was the recruitment process like?

    I had a phone interview and then attended an assessment day, which included a formal interview. Everyone was really friendly – I think they just wanted you to do as well as you possibly could.

    How many graduates are there per intake?

    When I joined the programme, HR took on four graduates. Across the business, there are between 15 and 20 of us in any single year. We each have a buddy in the year above – someone to go to with questions you wouldn’t want to ask your manager for fear of sounding like an idiot.

    Is there any such thing as a typical day?

    Generally I spend the morning catching up on the day before, answering emails and arranging meetings. We have quite a collaborative environment, so a lot of time is spent in meetings.

    What do you enjoy most about your role?

    I feel really privileged to be exposed to so many people with such varied backgrounds and experience. Everyone’s been really generous with their time and expertise, and it’s not just a question of shadowing our superiors. Standard Life creates a safe space for you to learn, but you’re also given hands-on experience in stuff that really matters.

    What’s the greatest challenge?

    It’s a real eye opener when you move placements. At the end of six months in one role, you feel quite comfortable with what’s expected of you. Then suddenly you have to begin all over again.

    What do you feel it takes to be successful in your role?

    Even sitting in HR, dealing with a people issue, your decision must be commercially aware. We’re listed on the stock exchange and a lot of people are interested in how we perform financially.

    Have you found anything surprising about working in financial services?

    My dad still laughs because he had to tutor me through Standard Grade maths. It is a financial company, but it certainly isn’t all numbers and spreadsheets and data crunching. There are roles throughout the business to suit different skill sets.

    What does the future hold for you work-wise?

    My short-term goals are to finish the graduate programme a year from now and to complete my Masters two years from September. Longer-term my ambition is to get on one of the leadership programmes and to give as much to the company as I can.

  • Katie Ferguson

    Katie Ferguson
      Age: 24
      Role: Technical Claims Adviser
      Employer: Aviva
      Location: Perth

    The unit that I work in, the claims department, it’s all young people so we all go out to the pub and clubbing, and stuff like that. It’s good for a social life being here.

    Vivienne Allen
    Manager, open-ended fund accounting

    How did you get into your job?

    I was 17 when I started. I finished school in the June, went to college for six months to study hairdressing and decided that that wasn’t for me. I got a job at Aviva, through a recruitment agency, and I have been here ever since. It was just a stop-gap as I was going to go to university but I decided I liked the money too much! I started off in sales and customer services, I was there for two years and then the claims department were recruiting so I decided to go for a bit of a change.

    Can you tell us about a typical day?

    I am leading on a triage pilot where we sit in a particular team and any claim that they think is fraud comes to us to look at before it goes to the suppliers. As soon as I start at 8.15 that’s what I’m doing. The claims go into an email mailbox and I go through them. I give one-to-one feedback immediately so the guys can learn straight away.

    Do you socialise with people from work?

    There are loads of sports clubs and fitness clubs. Its all young people that work in the claims department so we all go out to the pub and clubbing and stuff like that. It’s good for a social life being here.

    What do you like most?

    The technical ability that I’ve gained is second to none, I’ve done the Claims Development Framework which is a special scheme set up to build your knowledge so you become a claims expert. I’ve done quite a bit in the six years that I have been here including my NVQ level 3 Customer Services which was sponsored by Aviva.

    What do you like the least?

    The thing I like the least is that you can work on a claim for so long and one little thing can knock it down.

    What sort of qualities do you think it takes to be successful in financial services?

    You have to be trustworthy and empathetic, and you generally have to have a good outlook on life. If you don’t want to work then you are never going to get anywhere. And you have to be eager to learn.

    What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in financial services?

    Expect the unexpected, you are always guaranteed change.

    If you could have your time again would you do anything different?

    Probably yes, I would go to university rather than get a full-time job, I wouldn’t have started where I started I would have got a university degree and then come to somewhere like Aviva.

    Do you do voluntary or charity work?

    I run the work experience programme. Kids can contact us and say they'd like to come up to Aviva and experience a day in the life of someone at Aviva. If the kids have their week-long work experience and need an organisation to go to, we can tailor visits around their needs. We had 60 kids last year.

    What are the benefits of working in financial services?

    The pay is good. For young people coming straight from school it’s absolutely fantastic to be able to earn a good wage. You also get the social side of things, and you make new friends. Also Aviva are contributing to your pension as well as you, even if you think you are years away from retirement!

  • Vivienne Allen

    Vivienne Allen
      Age: 23
      Role: Manager, open-ended fund accounting
      Employer: BNP Paribas Securities Services
      Location: Glasgow

    I joined the ACCA, when I was 18 and I qualified at 20. Most people go to university and then do their professional exams, I did it a wee bit differently and qualified earlier.

    Sarah Olszok
    Senior Superior Reporting

    What is open-ended fund accounting?

    Well, basically it’s the accounts department. Our job is to support our clients in administering their funds. We produce a set of accounts, interim accounts and annual accounts for each year of the funds.

    Do you socialise with your colleagues?

    I regularly go out and socialise with colleagues. It’s a great way to get to know each other well and also improves how we work together in the office.

    How did you get into this job?

    I left school at 16, after achieving my Standard Grades, and I took up a junior office job full-time. I went to night school to do an HNC in Accountancy, then joined BNP Paribas Securities Services in a base level accountancy role. After 18 months I was promoted to senior accountant and then to team leader. A year after that, I was promoted to my current role of manager which I’ve been doing since July.

    I started with BNP Paribas with limited qualifications; I didn’t have a degree or higher education. I was quite lucky to get my foot in the door. I was up against people with degrees and experience but have been promoted on merit, and I’ve been given a lot of support from BNP Paribas to gain professional qualifications.

    So did you do your qualifications while you were working?

    I joined the ACCA, the professional accounting body, when I was 18 and I qualified at 20. To become a qualified accountant you have to sit exams. Most people go to university and then do their professional exams, I just did it a wee bit differently and qualified earlier.

    I did have the added pressure of having to manage a full-time job while studying. Most people at university only have to manage their studies and their social life. So it’s a balance – I qualified quicker, but I didn’t get the university lifestyle!

    Tell us about a typical day in your life?

    Every day is different! I usually come in about 8am and check my emails. Then, I check in with my team leaders to see if all the tasks that need done are covered. It’s difficult to describe a standard day as once one project is finished another one takes its place. But I’d say I normally spend half of my day in meetings.

    If I was to sum it up I would say that my job is to manage the risk of the team and optimise their performance.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I like that each day is different. It’s closely matched to the stock market and what’s happening in the industry. If you turn on the news in the morning you can see something that you know is going to directly influence your day. For example, recently the London Stock Exchange was down due to IT issues. I knew before I got into work that my whole day was going be about managing the risks around that.

    Being able to link it to real life is something which I enjoy about my job, it keeps it relevant and interesting.

    What do you find the most challenging?

    When things go wrong and you have to ask your team to stay late, that’s quite tough sometimes.

    What would you say it takes to be successful in financial services?

    I think you need to have an interest in the financial sector – what we do is closely linked to the financial markets and what’s going on in the stock exchange. If you don’t have an interest in that, you probably won’t be able to enjoy the job or progress in it.

    Is it something that you were interested in when you first left school?

    To be honest I didn’t even know that the financial services sector existed when I was 16, I knew that I wanted to go into accountancy and this was the field that I ended up getting into. It’s a very dynamic industry.

    What made you sure you wanted to do accountancy?

    Maths was my best subject at school. While I was looking at courses I found out that I didn’t have to go to university to get my qualifications so I decided to start a bit sooner in work instead, to get a bit further forward.

    I found a way that wasn’t really advertised. I’ve only met one other person who did things the same way – I guess you need to be focussed and want to progress to do it this way.

    Is your job a typical 9 to 5?

    As a whole, financial services isn’t really 9 to 5. In our office people are always running about and things are happening that are out of our control. I was here during the Lehman Brothers collapse and when that happened people were running up and down corridors, trying to get things done.

    It’s busy, and can be stressful, but if you’re career hungry and ambitious it’s a brilliant industry.

    What the office culture like?

    It’s quite relaxed and laid back. The office is open plan and each manager sits with their team – there’s no need to knock on doors, everyone’s approachable.

    We hold dress down days for charity and hold other fundraising activities for things like Red Nose Day. This creates a really friendly vibe in the office.

    What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in financial services?

    Do your research before applying, so that when you come in you can actually talk about what our industry does. Quite a lot of candidates come in with no idea about the type of work we do. No matter what your qualifications are, or your background, there will be a way in – there are so many different roles.

    What would you say the main benefits are to working in this sector?

    I enjoy the challenge of working in such a fast-paced industry. Overall the benefits package is really good. It includes great holidays and other benefits such as luncheon vouchers – they’re brilliant. It’s like free money.

    What would you say has surprised you the most about working in financial services?

    It’s massively dynamic and there are so many opportunities – I can even do secondments, if I want, to get more experience in different areas.

  • Sarah Olszok

    Sarah Olszok
      Age: 26
      Role: Senior Superior Reporting
      Employer: Citi
      Location: Edinburgh

    You have to be determined because sometimes you do get knockbacks, but its how you get there in the end that matters.

    Natalie Jamieson
    Fund Accounting Specialist

    What does your job involve?

    People managing, making sure things are done in time, answering client queries and dealing with auditors. If we’ve got recruitment then I'll deal with getting people trained up. We have contracts with clients so it’s the same reports we produce each month. Occasionally they do ask for additional reports so then different people in the team would get involved in building a new report, making sure the client’s happy with it, making sure the process works and getting sign- off from the client.

    How did you get in to the job?

    I came in as a service rep, so came in at the very bottom. I did accounting at university, and I wanted to do more accountancy that’s why I went into reporting, so I could use my degree and do something relevant. I got the job through a recruitment agency; I had an interview and then had a second interview with HR and head of the team at the time. I’ve been in the same team all that time. If you perform really well, you can get promotion without there necessarily being a job available at another level. So I’ve had a few promotions. Then my supervisor left in November so I’ve been doing this role since then.

    What’s a typical day like?

    At month end it’s more time restricted because we’re making sure that the reports are done within the timescales given, making sure reports are going out to clients in time, making sure client queries are answered, sometimes a few internal people need reports and information.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I like being involved in the preparing side of things. Analysing a report to find out how it could be improved, and putting new controls in. I find it quite interesting managing because it’s quite new to me.

    What do you like least?

    Nothing really. I quite like the fact I get to do a whole lot of different things.

    What qualities do you need to do well?

    You have to be determined because sometimes you get knockbacks, but it’s how you get there in the end that matters.You have to be driven as well, if there’s something you want to do make sure you have time to do it.

    Is it a typical 9 to 5 job?

    Generally at month end, which is the first week of the month, we’ll have to work late. And at quarter end, the first three weeks of the quarter, we’ll maybe have to do a Saturday. Other than that its 9 to 5.

    What advice would you give to someone who wants to do your job?

    Have a look at the background of what’s involved in the financial services sector. There are so many different avenues. If you don’t feel like you want to stay in the same job there’s scope to move about but stay within the same company.

    Can you take part in volunteer work?

    There’s volunteer day once a year in October where you can paint fences or plant gardens.

    Are there any benefits of working at Citi?

    They do lots of different clubs that you can get involved with, for example, there’s an adventure club where they go off to Aviemore for a weekend. It's also subsidised.

    What would you like to do next in your career?

    I want to do what I’m doing for at least another six months. We’ve got a couple of new people in the team so I want to have it more bedded down, and then start thinking about my next move.

  • Natalie Jamieson

    Natalie Jamieson
      Age: 22
      Role: Fund Accounting Specialist
      Employer: JP Morgan
      Location: Edinburgh

    To be honest I didn’t really know what a fund accountant was when I applied for the job, and I still wasn’t that sure when I got the job!

    Greig Anderson
    Customer Service Adviser

    Can you give us a summary of your key tasks and responsibilities?

    I am in an oversight team, our fund accounting has been outsourced to Mumbai so we are the direct link between the fund accountants and the client. Our main role is to manage expectations and deal with all the queries from clients. There are monthly reports produced and we review them and make sure that they are all ok to go out to the client. We have the final sign off on everything that is released, making sure that everything is processed correctly and there are no glaring errors.

    Tell us about a typical day in your life?

    We have a daily call with our outsourced team to find out what stage we are at for all the deliveries they are due to make that day, and any other issues that they might have over the next few days. We have a daily call with our client at 10am. Once that is done its doing report checks, fund accounting checks with anything that is due to be delivered that day. I’m also quite heavily involved in the account opening hub, doing all the administrative work around getting accounts set up. I spend quite a lot of time on the phone as we are essentially a mini client service team.

    How did you get into this job?

    I came in through a graduate recruitment drive. I did maths and statistics at university so I was looking for jobs in the financial services sector, and I heard about the job through the university careers service. I started filling in the online application, didn’t think I had finished it but I must have filled in the mandatory fields, as they phoned me and invited me for an interview – I was like 'I haven’t submitted it yet'! I came in for an assessment day where we had a numeracy test and we were all interviewed by two people. To be honest I didn’t really know what a fund accountant was when I applied for the job, and I still wasn’t that sure when I got the job!

    What would you say you enjoyed the most about your job?

    Probably the people that I work with, everyone here does seem to enjoy their job. We have good relationship where we work together to get things done, but we have a laugh at the same time. No one is shouting at you, there is always a calm approach, they won’t have you sitting on your own trying to solve problems - there will be people to help. The image of the financial services sector is one of people shouting and screaming at each other on the trading floor, but it’s a relaxed atmosphere here.

    What do you find most challenging?

    Probably meeting clients' demands, which I think is the same for anyone who is in a client-facing role. They can sometimes have expectations that perhaps are not possible, and you have to make it possible!

    What skills or qualities do you think it takes to succeed in the financial services sector?

    For my job being able to multi-task is quite important. You never get three hours to just sit down and work on something because so many people will phone you or email you. So it can sometimes take days to get tasks done. I think it is important to have that flexibility, and obviously be able to prioritise things when the client phones up and says we need something in an hour.

    Is your job a typical 9 to 5?

    We deliver reports for each of our funds monthly so the first two weeks of the month is the really busy period. But even then it’s not like we are doing loads of overtime. I know there are other teams in the building who have compulsory overtime because of the demands of their role, so I’m quite lucky in that respect.

    What is the culture/work environment like here?

    Most people do have a smile on their face and you do get the impression that most people enjoy their job – which helps and makes you feel more positive. Everyone has a laugh and people do socialise together outside of work which helps make the work relationship a bit easier. It's more fun to go to work if you have friendships there.

    Next steps?

    I’m just starting out but going forwards I would like perhaps to move to another team where I’m doing more of the actual fund accountancy work and build on that experience – obviously up is where I want to go, but to go up I need to get some of the breadth of experience.

    Hopefully I can move up to being a team leader then a manager – I think it takes like 10 or 15 steps to get to CEO and probably requires a move to New York but I’d be ok with that!

  • Greig Anderson

     Greig Anderson
      Age: 18
      Role: Customer Service Adviser
      Employer: RBS
      Location: Edinburgh

    I like knowing I can come into work confident about doing my job.

    Richard Elder
    General Management

    Tell us about your role?

    I’m a customer service adviser within the direct banking team. Each day I take an average 100 to 110 calls from customers. The help I give to each customer varies, they could be paying bills or transferring money between their accounts. I also deal with balance enquiries and setting up standing orders.

    Sometimes we have to help a customer who might have a complaint. I listen to the customers concerns and make notes then pass it to our care team who help resolve it for them.

    What was the recruitment process like?

    My mum works here and she actually told me about the job and said she thought I had the right skills to deal with the customers, so I applied online.

    I had my phone interview about a week later where I was asked about my experiences working with customers, I then had a face-to-face interview where I was able to give more examples of how I’d helped customers in the past.

    Then a week after that they got in touch to tell me I’d got the job. I felt relieved when they told me I was successful as I’d just left school and was only working part-time, I wanted to get my foot in the door somewhere I had the opportunity to learn new skills and had the chance of having a long-term career, and there’s not many better places where you get that chance.

    What do you like/enjoy most about the job?

    If you need any help, there’s always someone around to help. I like knowing I can come into work confident about doing my job and get my head down and do it. I enjoy having a set routine, it's not like coming in to work and not knowing what’s going to happen. I also really enjoy helping the customers.

    Is your job a typical 9 to 5 job?

    When I started I was working from 5pm in the evening till 1am in the morning, now I’m on the 11am–7pm shift. They might change me at some point to a 9am–5pm or 8am–4pm shift.

    Has anything surprised you about working in the financial services sector?

    Before I started working here, I didn’t really understand what happens in the finance or banking industry, I’ve found out more about how the bank works and what goes on behind the scenes.

    I’ve found a lot more out about banking and finance since I’ve started here. I was also surprised about the amount of people that work here, I didn’t realise the volume of calls that could come in here at any one time. We also have offices and employees all over the world.

    What’s the culture like?

    I find it really relaxed and really friendly.

    What’s the social life like?

    There are things like five-a-side football pitches outside for RBS employees to use, so sometimes they hold five-a-side tournaments and things like that. Friday, Saturday, Sunday I can dress down, and then Monday to Thursday I just need to wear smart trousers and a shirt.

    Is this what you wanted to do when you left school?

    I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, I was waiting for my exam results to come through, but I had thought about starting off in a call centre, as there can be lots of opportunities.

    There’s a lot of people in here who have moved on to become team managers and that kind of thing, so I’ll just keep my head down, help the customers I deal with and see what happens!

Taking the next steps

Whether you’re a school leaver, graduate or just looking for a new career, you can find information here to help you take the next steps in your career.

School leaver

If you’re leaving school and looking to take your first steps into employment then the financial services industry could be the place for you. 

As well as a wide variety of entry level roles to choose from, you could also quickly progress thanks to the ongoing training and support that is widely available. You can expect excellent support and training both on and off-the-job. You’ll also get a competitive salary and good benefits package, and quite often you’ll be able to complete a range of certified qualifications to help you progress in your career.

Graduate training

If you’re in your final year of university or if you’ve recently graduated, you might want to consider taking part in a financial services graduate training programme. Most of the big financial services employers offer placements which generally take between two to three years to complete. It could be in human resources, information technology, marketing and communications or more traditional finance roles such as chartered accountancy. Throughout your placement, you’ll receive excellent on-the-job training and structured support to help you to test yourself, gain new skills and launch your career.

Career change

Taking the next step in your career or making a complete change can often be daunting – there’s a lot to consider. A move into the financial services sector could get you a competitive salary, on-the-job training and good employee benefits (often including medical and dental plans and a pension). On top of all this, you’ll get to work for an organisation where you feel truly valued with a support system that looks out for your personal needs. Applicants come from a variety of backgrounds; what matters is that you’re enthusiastic and driven.

Job board

View job opportunities from selected employer and recruitment websites across Scotland.

Industry spotlight

Don't discount the financial services industry. There are new routes into the sector at every level.

‘The industry has opened up opportunities for everyone by offering a wider range of entry routes than ever before,' says Jenny Barber from the Financial Skills Partnership (FSP).

'There are now many openings for people with different skills and experience. It's an innovative, fast-paced industry and you no longer need to have been to university to get involved.'

Wooden number blocks, with number 1 in the middle

Getting experience

The FSP is working with a list of big name firms including HSBC to offer work experience. You can register with the FSP’s careers service Directions to make sure you're the first to hear when these opportunities open up. 

Work experience gives you the opportunitiy to see what the sector is like, make an impression with a possible future employer, and develop your CV.

What could you do?

‘There are many different kinds of roles available in the financial services sector – don’t imagine it’s all about numbers on a screen,’ says Jenny.

‘If you choose to work in the financial services industry it will keep you on your toes, give you an opportunity to earn a good salary, and give you a chance to work in a global sector too.'

‘For example, if you like to get out and about, you might enjoy life as a loss adjuster, who assesses things like flood and fire damage and helps businesses and individuals get back to normal life as quickly as possible.

‘If you are a people person you might prefer to work in human resources or retail banking, someone who likes an advisory type role might enjoy consultancy.'

Can you really go all the way to the top?

Absolutely! In this sector, success and hard work are rewarded quickly, and age and experience are no barrier to rapid advancement.

Many employers also offer professional training programmes – including accountancy and financial advisor courses – that will set you up with highly valued qualifications.

What next?

Check out opportunities in financial services.

Industry links

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Modern Apprenticeships

Discover more about Modern Apprenticeships in the financial services industry. 

Latest opportunities from Directions

Directions is the Financial Services Partnership's site for expert career information.

Opportunities for school leavers


Graduates and internships

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