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The City remains a great place to forge a career

THANKS to the global financial meltdown it has become social suicide to let slip you work in the City &ndash; never mind admit you are a banker. Chatting to some friends recently at a party, it was refreshing to learn many are now sick to the back teeth of apologising for their choice of career. So it is timely to call an end to banker bashing and reflect that Britain&rsquo;s financial services industry offers a raft of fine opportunities. Admitting to working in the Square Mile or Canary Wharf is nothing to be embarrassed about.<br /><br />Financial services hold the promise of a challenging working environment and a diversity of career paths, not to mention some of the best benefits packages to be found in Britain. This also makes it a powerful draw for some of the sharpest minds from around the world. Recruitment agencies and headhunters, while reporting slacker demand, are not as gloomy as could be expected. They are gearing up for economic recovery and another hiring rush when it comes. Traditionally seen as a stable career, banking has more recently attracted the brightest talent due to the rewards on offer. But, notwithstanding the obvious financial incentives, what else makes the City a great place to work?<br /><br />Potential for foreign travel is high on the list of attractions for those joining the City, as well as the social opportunities of working for the big banks. Sponsorship schemes, good pensions, health insurance and other benefits also come high on the list of plus points for a City career.<br /><br />The City is at the forefront of the global economy. Events of major economic significance happen here first, good or bad. Anyone with aspirations to influence world business should look no further. The constant reinvention and rapid changes lure dynamic individuals. Many of the causes of the banking meltdown were created here by financial innovators. But the solutions and ways of working for the new economic era are also emerging here in London.<br /><br />Above all the City must be the world&rsquo;s biggest meritocracy. If you are good at what you do, promotion prospects are unlimited. That means it&rsquo;s just not a home for Oxbridge graduates. The City of London Corporation runs schemes with neighbouring boroughs, which include some of the capital&rsquo;s most deprived areas. The intention is to publicise the opportunities presented by the City, boost aspirations and help lift at least some people out of poverty. All this makes the City a great place to work. And the money&rsquo;s not bad either. <br /><br />ben.griffiths@cityam.com