Having London on your CV is a good way to gain the attention and recognition of employers and recruiters. From a personal standpoint, London can also prove to be a memorable experience. For those working in the finance and investment sector, there are a number of reasons as to why London remains a great place to work. London continues to maintain its number one position as Europe’s leading financial centre despite Brexit approaching, the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) recently confirmed. Research found that on a global scale London sits comfortably at the top with New York, ranking considerably higher than Zurich and Frankfurt which sit at the bottom of the top ten of global financial centres according to the data. This year, Forbes ranked the U.K as number one in its 12th annual survey of the Best Countries for Business, outranking New York. It seems that London is still the obvious choice for many finance and investment professionals to either begin or develop their careers.
Is living and working in London right for you?
Whilst living and working in London can certainly be attractive to many it is not for everyone. It is can be an expensive city with high price tags and the city’s fast-paced environment may not appeal to those who prefer a more quiet and relaxed way of life. Perhaps you’ll be thinking about family and friends you’d be leaving behind, or if you’re considering raising a family in London you’ll need to factor in schooling and other related expenses. These are all legitimate things to consider before deciding to move to London. Nevertheless, if you are taking advantage of what London has to offer then the rewards can certainly be high, particularly for professionals who choose to come to London for work.
Below is a list of just some of the reasons as to why London is a great city to gain experience.
- The financial gateway to Europe
London is traditionally known as the financial gateway to Europe, although the outcome of Brexit is set to test whether it can maintain its status. For now though, Brexit has not impacted on London’s position as the financial capital of Europe to the degree it was initially expected. It is too early to know what the consequences of Brexit will be long term and it could take years for the changes to show. At any rate, repercussions to the job market will be inevitable. For example, some businesses (particularly within the banking sector) have already relocated some of its staff to the continent. The London market, however, has so far shown resilience and for now London continues to be a world leader in attracting global capital, with its real estate market dominating the globe as the champion of the sector.
- Lots of businesses and opportunities
If you are looking for an opportunity in real estate investment, the market is deeper and arguably more sophisticated in the UK than any other European country; there are more actors in the market and more capital which in turn lead to more opportunities.
Major financial institutions and investment companies such as banks, pension funds, hedge funds and private equity firms have a significant presence in London. The city has in fact seen a major expansion in these areas over the last twenty years making it an international hub for finance. When it comes to cross border activities, London leads the way ahead of New York and growing markets in Asia, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. London also hosts the headquarters of more pan-European companies than any other city in Europe, some of which only have offices in London and don’t have any offices on the continent. London presents many advantages for companies and boasts to have the most business friendly environment in Europe, thus attracting lots of businesses and opportunities in finance.
London is also booming with startups and funding within the sector has increased dramatically in London over the last couple of years. Startup companies can find the capital to operate and grow their business at a higher rate of opportunity and success than anywhere else in Europe. The UK is the leading country in Europe for investment in tech startups. Take the proptech sector as an example, London is a magnet for international investors, exceeding any other European country in attracting capital investment.
- Develop your skills in a diverse and challenging environment
London can provide a rather exciting and fruitful beginning to your career, offering excellent prospects and a breadth of opportunity to learn and explore different avenues within your chosen sector. London is arguably the most dynamic and diverse city in Europe and a great place to be to develop your skills and boost your potential.
You can expect a different experience when it comes to working in the London, you will be submersed into a new working culture that may leave you with mixed feelings. However, you won’t be alone, all around you will find people who took the plunge in moving to London for their careers. The quality of human capital in London is regarded as very high. London presents the opportunity to interact and work with some of the most talented professionals from across the globe who can act as a valuable resource in helping you advance.
When it comes to improving your English speaking skills, London is also the most advantageous place to be in Europe. You will be able to apply your English speaking skills in the native homeland of the English language whilst doing so in a diverse and challenging environment. Furthermore, English is the language of global business and the more proficient you are the more beneficial it will be for you from a professional perspective. Speaking a good standard of English in addition to another language (or languages) can give you a competitive advantage in your career.
In London, you’ll be developing your skills in a challenging environment but ultimately the results can be exceptionally rewarding.
Out of all the big cities in the world, London is the obvious choice to live and work whilst at the same time meeting and interacting with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. The London experience will offer vast networking opportunities that are invaluable for professionals. You simply only have to google ‘networking in London’ and thousands of links to professional networking events in the capital will appear. Who you know (and not just what you know) is one of the most important aspects in business – as it is through your network circle that you will gain support. Networking has many benefits; from meeting valuable people that impact in getting you a job interview to meeting experts and leaders who can offer good business advice and help you to understand the market. Networking is valuable in generating business and will help to sharpen your business tools whilst strengthening relationships.
Money is an important component when choosing to work in London. Whilst it is not the case for all sectors, the earning potential in London can be exceptionally good if you happen to work in the investment sector. Whilst your base salary may only be slightly higher in London, the difference in bonuses can be considerable. On the continent, average bonuses range generally between 10 – 30 percent, whereas in London it is quite common to get anything from 50 – 100 percent and potentially more, especially at a more senior level when you have had stronger commercial exposure.
- Location and infrastructure
London’s geographical location is a great advantage given the accessibility it has to other countries on different continents. It is conveniently located between New York and Asia with its physical location being central in global finance. It is easy to travel abroad from London. There are multiple flights each day/week to other countries from a few international airports located in and directly around the city, as well as having the Eurostar connecting the heart of London to the continent. The accessible travel abroad that London offers allows for greater freedom to interact and connect across borders, allowing you to do business more easily internationally. Finally, the quality of infrastructure and transport within London itself is also very good. London has an integrated transport system (tube, bus, rail, and more) in order to provide efficient services to its commuters, and cabs also operate in abundance helping you get around the city.
- London is a dynamic city in which you can’t get bored
London is a dynamic city immersed in rich history, it is a melting pot of cultures and innovative ideas that remain unique to it and set it apart from its European competitors. Its world class restaurants, the plethora of arts and entertainment-related activities and venues, to pioneering tech events and cutting edge fashion and creativity, no other place in Europe boasts to have so much on its doorstep.
Whilst London is not the only place to work or start your career, it certainly ranks number one in opportunities in the investment sector. There is no doubt that you will gain valuable experience and pick up new skills that will impress further afield. Ultimately, the experience of working in London will open your mind and provide an opportunity for professional enlightenment like no other city.