Looking for an Alternative?
If working in the City sounds like the lifestyle you want, but you fancy something a little different, there are many alternative options, one of which may be right up your street.
So you’ve decided you’d like a City-type job, but that a specifically financial career isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Don’t worry – there are other areas that might suit you.
One popular path you could follow as an alternative is law. As with many City careers, it involves applying specialist knowledge to analyse, interpret and solve various situations. And thanks to one-year postgraduate law conversion courses, graduates with a good degree in any discipline can access this area. As competition for places in City law firms is tough, it is always a good idea to do vacation internships. These will give you experience and make a good impression, especially in large firms where 50 to 60 per cent of placement students are offered full-time jobs. Big law firms tend to offer sponsorship to pay tuition for your legal practice qualifications. In addition, law can open up further new career paths. See our law specific issue for more information and case studies.
If you enjoy bringing your own ideas to the table, then marketing might be right for you. There are plenty of opportunities here, as so many companies rely on their marketing department to nurture their public image and awareness. However, a lot of marketing roles aren’t actually very glamorous. Landing one of the more coveted places takes a lot of research into the industry and previous involvement with marketing. If you have spent your years at university planning events and starting up societies, then you could be the ideal candidate.
Trading is an alternative to investment banking, and involves managing flows of money – ideally to increase profits. This job is all about making decisions and predictions on the situation of the market, and earnings in this area can be extensive. However this is a high-pressure career – coping with the responsibility of other people’s assets is demanding.
Property is another popular area of employment. The sector, which is currently booming, employs people in many different roles, all requiring good planning and organising skills.
Economists deal with economic policy in an everyday context, and many employers such as banks and insurance companies require economic specialists. Economists work on projects and advise clients through researching, monitoring and predicting change. For this type of work you will need an economics-related degree (2.1 or higher), as well as evidence of good IT skills and interpersonal skills.
In fact, IT is becoming a necessity no matter what the job is. People will always be required to manage IT systems and networks. If you have a numerate or IT-related degree and exceptional programming skills, then you will be in demand for this sort of position.
Whatever City career you’re after, the key things to remember are that previous work experience will always give you a head start, and that an early application, matched with good interpersonal skills, is a winning combination. Take a look at our case studies for more inspiration on alternative careers.