The Job Market for Millennials
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Conor McKenna

Analyst 2

Monday 10th September 2018

Northern Ireland’s Millennials in the Financial Services Sector

Millennials are the generation of people who entered young adulthood around the time of the 2008 financial crisis. They are roughly aged between 25 and 34 and make up around 14% of the population in the UK [4]. The 2008 financial crisis’ influence on their socio-economic consequences has raised discussion in relation to changes in the labour market, stagnant pay and a rising cost of housing. Reports have predicted that one in three millennials in Britain will never own their own home and will continue renting throughout their 40s and possibly into their retirement age [6].

Millennials’ career aspirations, along with their comfort in the growth of technology advancements, are likely to impact on the culture of the 21st century workplace in comparison to the previous generation of “Baby Boomers”. Their use of technology sets them apart from other generations due to growing up with smart phones, laptops and social media. This has led to them having a stronger grasp of key business tools in comparison with the older generations, making them more forward-thinking. The world in the modern day moves at a faster pace and heavily relies on technology to get results quicker than before. Therefore, millennials’ attitudes and expectations are different from their contemporaries in previous generations.

In addition, they are unique within the job market as usually when they apply for a job, they are looking for more than “just a job” or a steady rise through company ranks [7]. They want to be part of something more meaningful, such as the values that their company holds. Millennials across all job sectors (especially the financial sector) crave opportunities for career progression when they are looking ahead to the future.  This demonstrates that people of this generation are strong self-actualizers with aspirations to better themselves.

It is evident that millennials always seek self-improvement, especially in the financial services sector. A survey was carried out asking a group of this generation if they aspired to be better off than their parents, with 67% agreeing they do. Of those working within the financial services sector, this statistic increased to 75%, showing that they have high prospects for educating themselves within their careers. It is important that employers recognise these aspirations amongst the millennial generation to react to their needs in training and further education or up-skilling at a much faster pace and to retain and grow their workforce long-term [7].

In the rest of the UK, outside of London, Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of people who fall into the millennial age group, with 13% of them making up the population [4]. It was also estimated in 2015 that just under 30% of millennials in Northern Ireland are graduates (not including those currently studying at University) [4]. There is a significant amount of the population who will be seeking jobs that require a third-level qualification, however according to the Department of the Economy in 2015, only 33.1% of graduates return to Northern Ireland after graduation. This suggests that there are a lot of talented people with college educations leaving Northern Ireland and taking their skills elsewhere [5].

If more jobs were available in Northern Ireland after University, it would make sense for millennials to remain due to the cost of living in Belfast being significantly less than in other cities in the UK. For example, rent prices in London are over 200% (approximately) higher than they are in Belfast [2]. Belfast is one of the most inexpensive cities to rent a house in the United Kingdom, therefore it would be logical for new graduates wanting to kickstart their career to do so in Belfast [9]. The only issue is that a lot of millennials who have recently graduated have found it difficult to get a job in their field due to most professional companies hiring people based on experience. This can be very frustrating for job seekers as they cannot gain experience without attaining a job in the first instance, which contributes to people leaving Northern Ireland and going elsewhere. This is problematic because Northern Ireland produces so many talented people who would be capable of performing in these roles, yet their lack of experience has prevented this.

FinTrU’s Influence on the Millennials

FinTrU is an example of a company that has brought vast levels of employment for the millennial generation who have graduated from University. The company was founded by Darragh McCarthy in December 2013, originally with a target of 80 jobs. Subsequently, it has grown dramatically to over 250 employees. In 2017 a five-year job creation target of 160 extra jobs was traced within 12 months [10]. Many people employed by FinTrU fall into the millennial bracket, illustrating how the company has enhanced employment levels for this age group in Northern Ireland.

Additionally, the region with the greatest levels of unemployment in Northern Ireland is the Derry City council area [3]. In recent months FinTrU has announced that it will be creating 605 new jobs in Belfast and Derry over the next 5 years, with 305 of them being situated in Derry City [1]. Not only is this a positive step for FinTrU, but it will also help to increase the economic activity in the North West.

Within financial services there are a range of different work streams that require a variety of skills. FinTrU has been able to hire a varied work force with a diverse set of skills to generate a comprehensive team working atmosphere. Millennials in Northern Ireland who have obtained a graduate education, have been able to apply their skills and build on them through what they learn during the FinTrU academy process. There is no doubt this has provided a platform for talented graduates from Northern Ireland to use their skillsets without having to move overseas for work.

As mentioned previously, working at FinTrU is suitable for millennials as it can be viewed as more than “just a job”. This is due to the prospects of growth and development for employees. The Company culture also provides employees with opportunities to participate in various sporting events, bake-offs, quizzes and other Company activities. This allows colleagues to make close friends within the workplace, improve morale and make it a better place to work.

Growth and development are also a key factor within the FinTrU model. When graduates join the Company after the academy process, their job title is Analyst 1 with opportunities to grow to Analyst 2 and Associate level during the 2-year process. Employees also set goals every six months and have an annual review to get feedback and keep themselves motivated. This makes FinTrU an appealing place for millennials to have a career as it allows them to monitor their achievements and build on their success which in turn helps the Company to progress. The fact that the employees are driven to be successful is shown through FinTrU’s rapid rate of growth since it began in late 2013.


Millennials make up a large percentage of the population in Northern Ireland who have suffered the consequences of the 2008 economic crisis. They have grown up during a time of many technological breakthroughs which has allowed their knowledge and expertise in this area to be better than with previous generations. Additionally, they are always striving for growth and progression at whatever they are doing, making them strong self-actualizers. This means employers in the modern world must constantly challenge millennials in a positive way to keep them motivated and facilitate ways for them to fulfil their potential. This not only keeps millennials happy, but their determined nature will also drive the business.

FinTrU has been an excellent company for millennials as it gives talented people in Northern Ireland an opportunity to improve and develop within their careers. Millennials always want to experience progress and growth in what they do, and there is no better place to do this than with FinTrU. The Company hires graduates with different degree backgrounds, which allows for diverse skillsets to be applied overall. For millennials, FinTrU is a company that looks to the future and is getting better every day through its partnership, passion, people and professionalism, making it more than “just a job”.












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Conor McKenna

Analyst 2

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Conor joined FinTrU in October 2016 through our fourth Financial Services Academy after graduating from the University of Ulster with a BSc in Politics.

Conor previously worked on a Global Financial Crime team for a Tier 1 Investment Bank, working first in Transaction Monitoring before moving over to perform Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) reviews on both new and existing High-Risk clients.


He has also worked in Commercial Real Estate Loan Administration and Investor Reporting. Conor was responsible for identifying and extracting key information from Facility Agreements and producing rate fixing of loans, interest calculations notices, loan drawdowns and annual auditing of loans. In addition to this, Conor has also compiled packs to provide investors with an overview of the overall performance of their investments, alongside, producing E-IRP reports in line with CMSA standards and guidelines.

More recently, Conor has joined the Client Lifecycle Management team as a Know Your Customer (KYC) analyst for a Tier 1 Investment Bank. As part of this team, Conor is responsible for conducting investigations to ensure compliance with both internal and external regulatory requirements. He independently researches commercial databases, internal systems and the internet to gather and record data allowing him to execute sanction and negative news checks as well as trace Ultimate Beneficial Ownership of complex ownership structures. 

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