Flex focus: Careers in finance

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FinanceAs sectors go, finance is a pretty broad one, covering everything from skyscraper-based investment bankers to local branch customer services advisors. But when it comes to trying to find a flexible or part-time job, the different financial roles have more in common than you might think.

All parts of the finance sector took a hit in the 2008 financial crisis, and the repercussions continue today. As PwC stated in their 2014 report:

“The financial services industry faces a significant challenge attracting, engaging, and retaining employees… 59% of industry CEOs who participated in PwC’s annual Global CEO Survey view a shortage of skilled workers as a threat to the growth of their organisations. 

In a tightly regulated industry faced with shrinking margins, few financial institutions can afford to boost compensation significantly. But there’s one thing they can offer to help attract qualified candidates and engage and retain top talent: flexibility.”

If PwC are right in their assumptions, it’s more likely that flexibility could be on the table when you’re negotiating a job. And certainly, that’s our experience at Timewise Jobs; the finance sector is by far our biggest in terms of recruitment, providing more than a third of our flexibly advertised jobs in a typical quarter.

In which case, you’ve got everything to gain by trying to land a flexible role in the finance industry; you’ll find the latest flexible and part time finance jobs advertised on our website. If you decide to apply, here are some things to consider:

Customer services roles:

From branch staff to call centre employees, the drive for out-of-hours banking means that customer service roles in the finance sector are often shift based. Some of the part-time jobs we advertise are for as little as 15 hours a week; others may involve weekend or late shifts. There’s certainly an opportunity here to find working hours that suit your circumstances.

Accountancy roles:

Small accountancy firms or clients may not have the budget to employ experienced bookkeepers or accountants on a full time basis. You could consider asking to work a shorter day, such as school-day hours, rather than a more traditional part-time role.

Deal based roles:

The intensive deadlines involved in much deal-based work can mean employees are regularly expected to work outside the traditional 9-5. If you’re prepared to do so, but would like a degree of flexibility, consider asking for an annualised role. For example, this could mean you are paid for a three day week but work extra days when a deal is at its peak and receive the time off in lieu at quieter periods.

Returner programmes:

Some large financial institutions offer returner programmes for people who have had a career break of a year or more. These paid programmes usually run for around 20 weeks and can often lead to a permanent role. You can sign up to be notified of any new returner programmes that are advertised on Timewise Jobs.

All kinds of role:

Whatever kind of finance role you’re interested in, these tips will increase your chance of getting the flexibility you want:

  • Focus on your skills and experience first

Don’t make flexibility the first or only thing you focus on. And never include it in your CV.

  • Build a business case for how flexibility could work in the role

Think about what the outputs of the job are and explain how they could be achieved within the flexible role you’re looking for. If you have examples of how a similar role is already working flexibly, so much the better.

  • Be prepared to compromise

You may not be able to negotiate exactly what you want in the first instance; it can help to start by proving that flexibility can work in general, even if not within your preferred set-up Consider discussing a trial period after which you can review your arrangement and, potentially, extend it to your perfect scenario.

The right employer will be happy to accommodate flexibility for the right candidate – and by using Timewise Jobs to look for a flexible finance role, you’re more likely to find them. Good luck!

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