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Generation Recession – A Tough Time for Jobs in Finance


The financial crisis was a tough time for the financial services industry – and an even tougher time for its employees. The sector is still haunted by the images of Lehman Brothers employees exiting the building with boxed-up possessions.

Companies in most sectors had to cut back on their hiring volumes as they sought to protect their bottom lines. Graduate intakes were one victim of the need to keep recruitment costs down, which led to a reduction in the number of vacancies which didn’t recover until 2014.

The reduction in the intake of graduates during the recession has had an interesting effect on the industry’s labour market – to the benefit of those lucky enough to find work during it. Because firms reduced the number of accountancy and finance graduates they recruited over this period, professionals who made it onto training programmes are now able to command significant salary and bonus premiums. This is because there are fewer professionals with that particular level of experience today, compared with more senior or junior colleagues recruited in better times, leading to competition among employers for talented professionals in this experience bracket.

Our latest salary & market trend report revealed that competition for qualified accountants with under five years’ experience is at its most competitive, and salaries are on the rise because of it. Newly qualified accountants in London regularly offer basic packages of around £50,000 – and bonuses that can reach 50% of basic. 

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