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You will always be employable if you know how to do this

One recruitment professional claims to have identified the secret of eternal employability in financial services: advanced Excel skills.

“There is always steady demand for people with advanced Excel,” says Dominic Connor at P&D Quant Recruitment. “It is an excellent safety net for when it hits the pan.”

Connor points out that Excel is ubiquitous in banks, where it’s used for everything from risk reporting to pricing, to HR spreadsheets. Generally, practitioners aren’t especially well paid (the average Excel-related role in London commands around 45k), but they are at least paid something.

Using Excel to ensure employability means familiarising yourself with pivot tables, VBA, importing and exporting data from SQL servers and more complex elements like DDE (dynamic data exchange strings).

The great joy of all this is that it’s easy to learn, argues Connor. “All you need to do is to buy a book by Walkenbach and work your way through from beginning to end,” he suggests, “The joy of Excel is that everyone knows how to do it, but not many people know how to do it properly.”

At the top end, front office VBA Excel developers in investment banks can earn up to 750 a day. However, eligibility for these roles requires far more than buying a book on Amazon.

“It’s a very niche area,” says Aaman Soni at recruitment firm Thomson Keene. “You need front office experience to be an Excel VBA developer and managers will cherry pick the best people. Fewer roles are available and there’s a lot of competition for them.”

Comments (12)

Comments
  1. This may be true to an extent for juniors, but you reach a certain point in your career where you should be making decisions on the data and interpreting it, rather than doing the donkey work.

    In any event, these are exactly the sort of low level skills that can be offshored to the emerging “low cost” centres – Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain when wages plummet in the next few months.

    I did not mention Greece as the numbers would be wrong by at least 50% !

    But, does it really matter, the City is stalled, growth is negative and the only thing moving at Canary Wharf will be tumble weeds past banks of empty desks and MD’s PAs in a hooped ear ring frenzy at Accessorize.

  2. dominic back to the old mantra again….dude change the record and place me in this market!

  3. @Wizard –

    you’re so aussie!…..but I like your posts.

  4. Wizard, you are more Harry Potter than Gandalf because surely you’d recognise if we don’t provide jobs below MD then how the hell do we ever get people to progress in their career especially if they are born in this country.

  5. even if you know how to make teas you will always be employable

  6. Wizard, you have got a point to an extent. But we all know that Managing Directors like their on private fiefdoms, the idea of calling Bangalore every time you want a quick spreadsheet churned up for a meeting due in an 1 hour would not appeal, also don’t forget Data Protection.

  7. @Wizard:
    “I did not mention Greece as the numbers would be wrong by at least 50% !”

    Is that British arrogance at its best?

  8. AWelleErdball, it’s not arrogance, it’s insight gained from experience!

  9. Don’t believe a word of it! I’m an Excel wizard but no-one seems to want to hire me at the moment.

  10. It requires a combination of domain and MS-Excel knowledge to provide interesting financial solutions. It shouldn’t be difficult to get employment for such a personality. Of course, nobody will hire you even if you are an Excel wizard if you can’t use common sense to provide good solutions!
    Thanks for the interesting write-up!
    P.S.: The ‘spreadsheetpage’ by Walkenbach is also quite interesting.

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