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If you like the idea of working in a fast-paced, dynamic and demanding environment, then a graduate job as a broker or trader might be for you.
Both broking and trading graduate jobs involve buying and selling securities, which are negotiable and tradable financial assets such as bonds, stocks or banknotes. Both of these jobs are intellectually challenging, fast-paced, and call for many of the same skills – someone who is able to keep calm under pressure, has perseverance, great numerical skills and meticulous attention to detail. And finally, both a graduate job as a broker and a job as a trader will require a degree – usually in maths, economics, finance or business – as well as a financial licence.
But although there are clear similarities between the two roles, graduate jobs in broking and trading involve very different skills and responsibilities that make them better suited to very different types of people.
A Broker is a sales agent who has their own portfolio of retail and institutional clients. They arrange for the buying and selling of securities based on the wishes of these clients, negotiating the very best deals and then earning a commission on each trade.
They also offer trading advice to their clients that will help them make informed decisions about which stocks to invest in, and when. A Broker is always looking to grow their portfolio of clients, so will also spend a fair amount of their time cold-calling potential clients to introduce their services and skills.
As a graduate job as a Broker involves a high level of client interaction, it requires someone with strong numerical skills and an interest in financial markets – but also someone who has exceptional negotiation and communication skills.
A Trader usually works for an investment management firm, an exchange, or a bank, buying and selling securities on behalf of the assets managed by the firm. They will always be purchasing stock with the hope of selling it for a profit, whether this be a short-term trade (sometimes lasting only a few seconds) or a long-term trade, which can last up to several months.
Traders are often depicted in films as angry men in suits running around on an auction-style floor yelling down the phone, but in reality this isn't usually the case - most stocks are now traded electronically. Traders actually spend a lot of their time in front of a computer - meticulously analysing performance charts, researching stocks and closely watching the market in order to ultimately make big profits on their trades.
They are judged exclusively on their performance, rather than on their people skills, so because the role involves much less interaction with clients than a graduate job as a Broker, may be better suited to someone who is more of an introvert.
Graduate jobs in broking and trading are exciting, lucrative, and, as you might expect, highly competitive. Almost all reputable firms will require you to have a degree to work as a Broker or a Trader - but there is a lot else that you can do to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Depending on whether you relish speaking to people or you are more of an introvert, you might be better suited to a graduate job as a Broker or a Trader. But working in a high-pressure, fast-paced and constantly challenging environment, one thing’s for sure - no two days as a Broker or Trader will ever be the same.
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