Technical skills offer way in to finance

Technical skills and experience of large projects are the key requirements for breaking into financial services for people who lack knowledge of the sector, say employers and recruiters.

Technical skills and experience of large projects are the key requirements for breaking into financial services for people who lack knowledge of the sector, say employers and recruiters.

Tim Walker, a partner in Deloitte's technology practice, said, "What is transferable is heavyweight project management skills and roles that are technically focused. Outside those areas it gets very difficult."

According to the Association of Technology Staffing Companies, the average hourly rate for IT contractors in the City of London is £50 - the highest rate in any industry.

Both contractors and permanent employees in the City can earn much more than £50 per hour if they specialise. People with experience of specialist banking applications, such as Murex and Sophis, can earn £125 per hour.

JM Selection's head of retail financial services, Lee Charles, said, "Banks like people who have complete ownership of projects. It is the value of the projects the candidates have managed and whether the buck stops with them."

People being appointed for their project management skills can come from outside financial services, but only if they have worked on projects of the same scale as those run by the banks.

IT contractor Court Guinness said that banks are more likely than before to insist on candidates who have already worked in the City.

He said, "You are only as good as the last company you worked for, but once you are in the City, with a bank on your CV, it goes from there."

IT people in the City often know one another. Both contractors and permanent people can turn to this informal network for advice and for work opportunities.

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