Students considering a banking job in the UK inevitably think of the City of London, but in an era of cost-cutting, most jobs outside of the front office are being shipped off to cheaper locations with a pool of highly skilled graduates who will accept lower salaries than those working in the capital.
The trend of nearshoring is only increasing, with banks employing thousands in UK cities not normally associated with a career in finance. What’s more, it’s not only the operational positions that are going in this direction. More banks – notably Deutsche Bank and its Birmingham operation – are also moving front office roles there.
The reality is that if you’re considering a career in finance, you also need to look outside of London. Here are the key areas that banks recruit for – some are even still hiring graduates and school leavers for 2014.
Where?: Chester, Cheshire
What?: Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Chester office is a huge hub for the firm, employing over 3,500 people. It started out as a service centre for its credit card business, but now also carries out functions related to the investment bank. BAML is currently recruiting school-leavers with A-levels to carry out functions related to its back office and middle office in Chester, capturing trades carried out by the front office in the City, and also carries out technology infrastructure work there. It plans to add a further 2,000 jobs over the next ten years.
Where?: Manchester, Lancashire
What?: A global transaction settlement centre, or the back office in other words, which now employs over 1,000 people. Along with Pune in India and Pittsburgh in the U.S., it’s one of three locations described by the bank as a “global growth centre”.
Where?: Glasgow, Scotland
What?: Barclays moved to the ‘shared services’ model in 2010, whereby operational functions related to both its investment bank and wealth management divisions would be carried out in its new hub in Glasgow. This created 600 jobs in the Scottish city (and presumably eliminated those in London), but the bank has been expanding the office ever since, and the graduate pipeline is a key component of its recruitment.
Where?: Derby, East Midlands; Edinburgh, Scotland and Belfast, Northern Ireland
What?: The main operational hub for Citigroup outside of London is in Derby, where it employs over 1,500 people in functions related to its consumer business. In Edinburgh, there are around 350 employees working in fund administration positions and Belfast is a rapidly growing centre for its technology development related to its investment bank and now has over 900 people.
Where?: Birmingham, West Midlands
What?: Deutsche Bank has big plans for its Birmingham office, which was originally set up as a centre for its operational functions related to the investment bank. It intends to bolster headcount by a further 1,000 people this year. These jobs will be related to operations, but also technology development, which will see hundreds more hired, and a handful of execution sales and trading jobs, which will include graduate opportunities.
Where?: Bournemouth, Dorset and Glasgow, Scotland
What?: In Glasgow, JPMorgan employs over 800 people in its European Technology centre, and is continually looking to hire talented graduates who can demonstrate an aptitude for Java, Sybase and .Net to develop IT for its investment bank. However, it’s in the seaside town of Bournemouth where the real hub outside of London for the U.S. bank is – it employs over 4,000 people, some of whom also carry out technology functions, but the majority of which carry out operational and accounting roles. There are graduate opportunities aplenty, which usually extend beyond the typical December deadline for most entry level jobs at the bank. The bank is moving an additional 2,000 roles to Bournemouth over the next two years.
Where?: Glasgow, Scotland
What?: Morgan Stanley’s Scotland hub has been gradually increasing the range of job roles it offers, related to both wealth management and investment banking. Operations are, perhaps predictably, there, but it also carries out finance, technology development and information security from the office, which now employs over 1,000 people (or around a fifth of the number working in London).
Where?: Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
What?: It is, perhaps, a little ironic that the Royal Bank of Scotland has shunned opening an office north of the border to carry out its operational functions. Instead, it’s the small town of Newcastle-under-Lyme that is the hub for operations jobs related to its Markets & International banking division. IT development work related to the investment bank is also carried out there. The bank also employs operational staff in Manchester. Graduate jobs for 2014 are still open to applications.