Advances in technology and the rise of big data have transformed the way the UK’s financial sector operates, creating demand for a workforce equipped with the right financial and technological skillsets. Thanks to its winning combination of education and location, in Essex, that workforce is flourishing.
Once upon a time the financial markets relied largely on man-made strategies. Nowadays, thanks to advances in technology, identifying and securing opportunities is increasingly down to computer systems capable of monitoring and reacting to vast quantities of market data autonomously. 
The ability to create and use these systems in the financial sector is a skill that’s very much in demand across Britain, with an estimated 56,000 big data jobs expected to be created every year until 2020, and more than three quarters of posts currently considered “fairly” or “very” difficult to fill. 
So what is Essex doing to help meet this demand?
Understanding finance or computing alone is not enough…
The most valuable candidates have knowledge and expertise in both areas – the ability to work with technology and programming, as well as a solid understanding of the financial sector.
According to Professor Edward Tsang, Director at the Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents (CCFEA), ‘finding a synergy, being able to know where technology would win, that kind of knowledge is scarce’. 
Through its high-ranking further education institutions, Essex has created a hub for the development of these specialist skills, offering post-graduate qualifications such as MSc courses in computational finance, algorithmic trading and financial computing.
Essex - home of financial ‘Big Data’ expertise
The University of Essex – named as a ‘world top 2%’ university in 2015  and a ‘UK top 20’ university for research excellence  - is also home to a wealth of Big Data and financial computing expertise, including the UK Data Archive and the Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents (CCFEA). The university works with organisations nationally and internationally to conduct research, and to help them apply big data and computing to their financial and economic processes.
Essex’s rich bed of specialist finance and data skills is strengthened further by its close proximity to London and the City. In a sector where speed is everything, being close to the City’s financial trading centres means Essex can provide both the high speed data connectivity required to meet the City’s demand, and fast transport links into London and across the globe.
Average train times into the city take less than an hour  and the region provides easy access to London Stansted, London Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
It all adds up…
With its continual development of a skilled, niche workforce and world-leading education and research facilities, Essex allows financial businesses to place themselves at the beating heart of the Big Data revolution, enjoying the benefits of being near the City without the high floor space and staffing costs the capital brings with it.
FIND OUT MORE
Contact INVEST Essex to find out more about the advantages of the London-Essex UK Finance Corridor for your business.
 Computational Finance – Professor Edward Tsang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pADuSbjzj0k&feature=youtu.be
 Demand for big data and skills shortages drives wages boom – Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/953ff95a-6045-11e4-88d1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3doCzmbWa)
 Interview with Professor Edward Tsang – 23/06/15
 Times Higher Education University Rankings 2015 https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2014-15/world-ranking/institution/university-of-essex
 Research Excellence Framework http://results.ref.ac.uk/Results/ByHei/116