These are truly interesting times. Despite real fears for the political and social climate in the UK, the majority of large international banks in London have only increased the number of people they employ. Early worries about an exodus of roles to the continent have not been realised. As City recruiters, we have seen no reduction to this growth.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has brought more people onto the job market, which means that finance companies can afford to be much more particular about who they hire.
Given the vast changes that 2020 made to the workplace, most notably the rise in remote working, some of the traditional ways of work have had to change. If you have a job in finance, here’s what you can do to ensure that you stay ahead of the game in 2021 when remote working takes centre stage.
If you’re in the early stages of your career…
become a strong communicator
People often overlook soft skills, of which communication is a part. Yet at Aldrich & Co we have often – even before 2020 – seen a real gap in the market for great communicators, and these new ways of working have only continued to widen that gap.
A vast number of office workers have moved to remote environments. But not all have learned how to overcome the obstacles to this very different way of work.
The secret sauce to keeping accountable and successful at work this year is to become a strong communicator.
You’re no longer meeting face-to-face with your colleagues, so you will need to push yourself harder to communicate effectively with them. Via text, you lose intonation. Via Zoom, you lose the ability to read body language. Make more of an effort to get your meaning across: A single-sentence response to a lengthy email could make you sound unenthusiastic, whatever words you use, and depending on the work environment, too many emojis could make you look insincere. Being negative can bear a lot more weight at a Zoom meeting than in person because, even if it was just a passing moment in your mood, your colleague at the other end likely won’t see you for the rest of the day and may hesitate to connect with you later on.
If you’re not a confidant public speaker, don’t worry: Communication skills don’t only refer to the ability to speak. Communication also means being able to listen, process what’s being asked of you, and learning to ask great questions. These are skills you can practice with friends and family at home. Next time you talk with them, put down your electronic devices and try to set aside anything that might be on your mind. Learn to listen, and then apply these principles to the workplace. You’ll be surprised how much you can develop through practice.
If you’re mid-career…
get serious about your professional development
Remote working can make it harder to keep up your professional development. When you’re going into the company building every day, you see what’s going on around you, you notice people moving up the company ladder, and you are more aware of who is on the new accounts and what you could be working on. Staring into a screen at home can make the opportunities to advancing in a career much more abstract.
Professional skills remain highly sought-after for finance roles. Chartered qualifications account for a lot, whether they be for positions in accounting, financial analysts, company secretaries, or human resources.
And if studying for a certificate isn’t for you, don’t lose heart. While an accredited course will always look impressive on your CV, there are plenty of e-courses around that let you work at your own pace and keep you up to date in the business world. Business is all about building a reputation and being innovative – and working on your skills will never fails to impress.
We’re always looking for great communicators and motivated candidates to add to our books! Contact us today, and we’ll connect you with one of our recruitment consultants, who will help you find your next finance role in the City of London.