You will always be employable if you know how to do this

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One recruitment professional claims to have identified the secret of eternal employability in financial services: advanced Excel skills.

"There is always steady demand for people with advanced Excel," says Dominic Connor at P&D Quant Recruitment. "It is an excellent safety net for when it hits the pan."

Connor points out that Excel is ubiquitous in banks, where it's used for everything from risk reporting to pricing, to HR spreadsheets. Generally, practitioners aren't especially well paid (the average Excel-related role in London commands around 45k), but they are at least paid something.

Using Excel to ensure employability means familiarising yourself with pivot tables, VBA, importing and exporting data from SQL servers and more complex elements like DDE (dynamic data exchange strings).

The great joy of all this is that it's easy to learn, argues Connor. "All you need to do is to buy a book by Walkenbach and work your way through from beginning to end," he suggests, "The joy of Excel is that everyone knows how to do it, but not many people know how to do it properly."

At the top end, front office VBA Excel developers in investment banks can earn up to 750 a day. However, eligibility for these roles requires far more than buying a book on Amazon.

"It's a very niche area," says Aaman Soni at recruitment firm Thomson Keene. "You need front office experience to be an Excel VBA developer and managers will cherry pick the best people. Fewer roles are available and there's a lot of competition for them."

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