How Temps Can Join the City High-Flyers

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN PLEWS

A HIGH-flying job in the City is the dream of many graduates, but it is not an easy one to realise. Surprisingly, temping may be the answer.

Recent figures issued by the Office of National Statistics show that nearly two million people in the UK work in temporary and contract work, a 16% increase since 1995.

The many graduates attracted to the financial sector find gaining a foothold difficult without relevant work experience as well as the right degree.

Temping provides the perfect way of gaining this experience and can be a foot in the door to an organisation or speciality and result in a permanent job.

Historically, the City has recruited people from elite universities, but temping allows graduates of other universities an opportunity to break into the financial world.

Jamie Ireland, 25, from Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders, graduated from London's South Bank University with a BA in tourism and hotel management.

He says:'As a graduate from a former polytechnic with an unrelated degree, I believed it would be virtually impossible to break into the City.

'However, through a six-month contract as a reconciliation clerk, I find myself working for an asset management company in a position that, if I prove myself, will become permanent.

'Temping has proved incredibly valuable, the only route for me into the banking industry.'

NABILA Sadiq, 30, a director at financial recruitment consultancy Joslin Rowe Associates, says: 'London's financial temporary market offers huge opportunities.

Both sides benefit, with a company buying in skills but not having the responsibility of a new member of staff, and the employee being judged on ability to do the job rather than on background.' For graduates entering the job market this summer, work experience is critical for two reasons.

A degree is no guarantee of ability in an office environment.

A student who has found office work during holidays will be able to show motivation, commitment and, above all, the ability to transfer interpersonal skills and knowledge to a working environment.

Secondly, temping enables people to sample a variety of organisations, industries and types of role and decide what career path to follow.

Londoner Joseph Davidson, 23, left Warwick University with a degree in Renaissance history.

After gaining a scholarship to Gray's Inn, London, and spending two months at bar school he decided that he did not want a career in law and looked for temporary work.

He says: 'To work in banking I needed to gain experience and try to get a foot in the door. …