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CISI: Attitudes to financial services must change

16/05/14

A new report from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) has suggested that attitudes to the financial services sector will need to be refreshed if firms are to attract the talent they need over the coming years.

CISI's study revealed that, especially among young people and students, the sector's stock is relatively low at the moment despite the possibilities of high remuneration it has always offered talented candidates.

The survey - carried out by YouGov - found a great deal of confusion over what a role in the sector would actually entail on a day-to-day basis.

Some 53 per cent of youngsters felt such a career would be 'boring', while 50 per cent expected it to be full of numbers. Only 24 per cent were confident they knew what kind of jobs the sector offered, with less than ten per cent keen to find a financial services role.

Technology, engineering, policing and healthcare were all identified as popular careers among the young respondents.

Simon Cuhane, Chartered FCSI and CISI chief executive, said poor numeracy skills are creating a "vicious circle" that puts potential applicants off financial services roles.

"This, in turn, seems to be contributing to a low level prejudice against financial services as a career amongst young people's key influencers, teachers and parents," he added.

More needs to be done to raise awareness of the diversity of roles available within the industry, suggested the chief executive.

"With some of the highest UK graduate salaries being available in the investment banking sector, we should not undersell to our young people the fact that financial services offers excellent opportunities for a good, exciting and rewarding career," concluded Mr Cuhane.

Given the importance of bringing in fresh talent to the sector over the coming years, particularly with concerns over a potential graduate skills gap beginning to arise, this is an issue firms need to be aware of.

While this shouldn't pose a problem when recruiting mid-career candidates, perhaps more could be done to connect with young graduates looking for a first or second job.

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