Careers in the financial industry offer a world of opportunity. The field calls for disciplined, intelligent, and tough individuals to weather the ups and downs of the changing financial landscape. There are many different careers in financial services, and finding the right one may take a bit of experimentation.
Find out why you should consider a financial career, a list of finance careers to choose from, and what you need to know as you grow your career.
Why Choose a Career in Finance?
Globalization, a recovering economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to lead strong demand in the financial careers field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, business and financial jobs are expected to grow by 5% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Careers in finance and investment are good for a variety of people. For example, you may consider a finance career if you have interest in math, love numbers, and feel at home digging through a company’s financials. These careers are also great for individuals who enjoy interacting with people, are persuasive, and don’t mind working long hours. Either way, the financial field may have positions for you.
Once you’ve been in the industry a while, you may want to try out another specialty that better suits your interests. Or, if you’re just starting, you may still be trying to figure out what your interests are. For all financial professionals, it’s important to continue learning and keep your eyes open for new opportunities in the field.
Download our eBook: Work-Life Balance for Finance Professionals
Finance careers can be fast-paced and exciting, but the long hours and heavy workloads can lead to considerable stress. Download our free eBook, “Work-Life Balance for Finance Professionals”, to learn about the causes and symptoms of work-related stress in the finance field, and how to create a healthier work-life balance.
The Top 6 Finance and Investment Careers to Consider
The financial and investment field has many careers to choose from. All feature impressive growth opportunities and good salaries.
Six top finance and investment careers include:
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Manager
- Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent
- Investment Underwriter
- Personal Financial Advisor
- Risk Management Specialist
Find out more about them, their projected job opportunities, and their salary ranges below.
1. Financial Analyst
Businesses and individuals rely on financial analysts for guidance when making investment decisions. These analysts assess the performance of bonds, stocks, and other securities.
Financial analysts work for several types of employers. Here are the top employers of financial analysts, according to the BLS.
|Employer||Percentage of all financial analysts|
|Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments
and related activities
|Credit intermediation and related activities||15%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||12%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||11%|
|Insurance carriers and related activities||6%|
The BLS reports that several specialties are available in the financial analysis field, including:
- Fund managers: Work with hedge funds and mutual funds, reacting quickly to changing market conditions
- Portfolio managers: Select the appropriate products and other factors that go into a company’s investment portfolio
- Ratings analysts: Evaluate companies and governments for their ability to repay bonds and other debts
- Risk analysts: Study the risks inherent in investment decisions and how to minimize them
Employers often recommend that financial analysts pursue certification, which can improve the chances for advancement, according to the BLS.
Find out more about Wharton Online’s Asset and Portfolio Management Certificate Program.
2. Financial Manager
Financial managers are responsible for creating financial reports, directing investment activities, and developing plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
The job growth prospects of a financial manager is outstanding. The BLS estimates that the specialty will grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than all occupations. Pay for financial managers is also higher than average, with a median annual salary of $129,890 in May 2019, according to the BLS.
Most financial managers work for finance and insurance companies. Here is a breakdown of the top employers of financial managers, according to the BLS.
|Employer||Percentage of all financial managers|
|Finance and insurance||30%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||14%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||11%|
There are several specialties a financial manager can pursue. Different types of financial managers, according to the BLS, are:
- Cash managers: Monitor and control the flow of an organization’s money
- Controllers: Oversee preparation of financial reports, which provide a summary of an organization’s financial position and forecast its financial future
- Credit managers: Watch over an organization’s credit business
- Insurance managers: Help protect an organization’s insurance risks
- Risk managers: Limit or offset an organization’s financial losses or exposure to financial uncertainty
- Treasurers and finance officers: Help an organization meet its financial goals by working with its budget
3. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent
Buyers and sellers in financial markets are connected by securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. These experts sell securities to individuals, conduct trades and advise companies that are searching for investors.
Employment of these agents is expected to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029, according to BLS, which is the average for all occupations. The median annual pay for these agents was $62,270 in May 2019, the BLS says.
Here are the largest employers of these agents, according to the BLS:
|Employer||Percentage of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||48%|
|Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities||39%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||3%|
There are several specialties available to these agents, the BLS says:
- Brokers: Sell securities and commodities to individual clients directly
- Investment bankers: Link businesses that need money with investors
- Investment banking sales agents and traders: Execute buy and sell orders for stocks, bonds, and commodities and make trades on behalf of the firm
- Floor brokers: Work on the floor of a securities or commodities exchange
- Financial services sales agents: Consult on a wide variety of banking, securities, insurance, and related services to individuals and businesses
4. Investment Underwriter
These professionals are go-betweens linking corporate issuers of securities and clients regarding private equity investments. They underwrite issuance of securities and negotiate terms of terms of mergers or acquisitions.
According to O*NET OnLine, a Department of Labor site, jobs for investment underwriters are expected to grow by up to 6% from 2018 to 2028. Their median salary was $81,590 in 2019.
Investment underwriters are primarily employed by finance and insurance companies, and governments, according to O*NET.
5. Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors provide financial advice to help individuals. They focus on managing individuals’ finances and planning for their financial future.
The BLS says employment of personal financial advisors is expected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about the average growth rate for all occupations. The median annual wage for personal financial advisors in May 2019 was $87,850, the BLS estimates.
Most personal financial advisors worked for companies that provide the service. Here is the breakdown of where they worked, according to the BLS:
|Employer||Percentage of personal financial advisors|
|Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities||58%|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||13%|
|Insurance carriers and related activities||4%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||2%|
6. Risk Management Specialist
Risk management specialists analyze and manage issues for organizations by identifying, measuring, and making decisions on operational or enterprise risks.
According to O*NET, the median wage for this specialty was $81,590 in 2019. Growth in the field is steady—about 4% to 6% from 2018 to 2028.
Risk management specialists work in many different industries. O*NET lists the following areas as the top employers for these specialists in 2018:
|Employer||Percentage of risk management specialists|
|Finance and insurance||29%|
|Other, including educational services and management of companies and enterprises||48%|
Learn More About Our Asset and Portfolio Management Certificate Program
To aid your career growth, the Asset and Portfolio Management Certificate Program is designed for current and aspiring financial professionals. Designed with your career growth in mind, the certificate program focuses on how to employ the best practices when putting together an investment portfolio. Explore our Asset and Portfolio Management Certificate Program today.
If you’re seeking to grow a different set of skills, we offer various online courses and certificates in areas such as business strategy, leadership, technology, and entrepreneurship.