Routes into the Pensions Profession

8th August 2023

In recent years, the pensions industry has been facing a shortage of skilled workers, which has led to increased demand for new talent. For the Pensions Sector we have always considered main routes as being graduates and school leavers. We also now have the important introduction of Apprenticeships for the sector, and these are growing in popularity across organisations and with prospective employees.

Let’s take a look at the routes individually:

Graduates can find opportunities to work in pensions in various organisations, such as pension fund management firms, insurance companies, consulting firms, and government agencies. These organisations often offer training and development programs to help graduates build the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the industry.

What do you need to have:
  1. University Degree: One of the most popular routes into a pensions career is to graduate from university with a degree in mathematics, finance, economics, or a related field. Many employers require a bachelor’s degree in these fields and some may even require a master’s degree.
  2. Professional Qualifications: obtain a professional qualification in the field from the PMI.

School Leavers
No one ever said in a career’s day – ‘Do you want a career in Pensions?’. However, school leavers can consider a career in pensions, which offers a range of opportunities from client-facing roles to technical roles. They are as important a part of the workforce as the most senior person within the organisation – they are the lifeblood that makes organisations ‘tick’. 

The most significant change in employment strategy of pension organisations has been the uptake in the number of Apprentices they employ each year, and this is growing year-on-year.

Apprenticeships in pensions refer to structured training programs that involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction designed to prepare individuals for a career in the pensions sector.

Some employers offer apprenticeships for school leavers, allowing them to train and work in the pensions industry. These usually require a minimum of four GCSEs, including Maths and English. Some employers offer Apprenticeships at the higher level to graduates, who by the nature of this already have a degree. Other employers use a mix of both and offer Apprenticeships to already employed team members.

The PMI is the End Point Assessment / organisation for three pension based Apprenticeships:
  • Level 3 Workplace Pensions (Administrator or Consultant)
  • Level 4 Actuarial Technician
  • Level 6 Financial Services Professional

How do I go about it?
Do your research: Understand the role of pensions in the financial world, the key players, and the regulatory environment. Attend industry events, seminars and webinars to expand your knowledge.

Consider qualifications: Most professionals working in pensions hold certifications and qualifications delivered by the Pensions Management Institute (PMI). Obtaining a qualification demonstrates a commitment to the field and enhances employability.

Gain experience: Consider internships or entry-level positions across the pensions spectrum, including asset management, consulting, and administration. Building experience from a variety of roles and firms will allow you to develop specific skills and knowledge that will make you a highly valuable candidate.

Network: Attend industry events and conferences to meet key industry players and learn about the latest trends and developments. Building relationships can lead to valuable mentorship, future opportunities, and industry insights.

Stay informed: Pensions are a constantly evolving space, so keep up-to-date with current events through pensions publications, blogs, and online forums. Being well-informed will help you understand industry-specific topics and trends and show your commitment to the field.

Be passionate: A lot of work goes into pensions, so having a passion for the industry and the desire to continually learn is essential to succeed.

Pensions are a critical aspect of retirement planning, and the industry employs a wide range of professionals. Whichever route you choose you will find that it provides a stable and rewarding career, with opportunities for growth and advancement.

Now that you know the routes into the profession, find out more about the skills needed to succeed within this profession by reading the ‘Essential Skills to succeed in the Pensions Profession’ article.

About the Author

Dr Keith Hoodless
Director of Lifelong Learning

Dr Keith Hoodless is a learner-focused educational leader with an extensive career background as a hands-on teacher and school principal as well as in corporate training and commercial roles.  He is adept at developing best practice systems for qualification, educational administration and curriculum delivery to build both new and established programmes into institutions recognised for quality and performance. 

Originally from the North of England, Keith now resides and works in London and is the Director of Lifelong Learning and Qualifications at the PMI. He also engages as an Educational Consultant, specialising in teaching (and the delivery of teaching), and College/School Improvement. 

Dr Keith Hoodless is a Freeman of the City of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) as well as a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching (FCCT) and a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQP FCQI).

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