If you’re considering expanding your horizons with a career in finance, you’re on the right track to success. The finance sector offers a diverse range of options, from banking and investments to planning and analysis. It’s a broad industry where you can find your passion and determine what it takes to excel in your chosen field.
One of the reasons why a finance career path is highly regarded is the attractive financial compensation package it offers. It’s no secret that a finance career can be lucrative, providing a competitive salary and excellent benefits and bonuses. Moreover, it presents numerous opportunities for specialization, ensuring long-term stability and growth in the finance industry in the coming years.
However, navigating the finance job market isn’t always straightforward. It can be overwhelming with numerous options and various niche areas of specialization. Understanding the different finance degrees and how they align with your career goals is also essential. However, strategies for career advancement in finance and pathways to success in finance careers are vital aspects to focus on.
In this article, we’ll explore the various employment opportunities within finance and provide valuable insights to help you gain a comprehensive understanding of this dynamic field.
What Is Finance?
Finance is a broad term for managing money, assets, and currency. It also includes money management, borrowing, investing, saving, budgeting, raising funds or capital, and expenditure. It is thus classified into three broad categories: public finance, corporate finance, and personal finance.
Is A Career In Finance In High Demand?
The finance industry is packed with many lucrative job prospects in high demand. As mentioned earlier, the finance industry is vast, so many finance careers pay well. Most of these jobs in finance, however, require a four-year bachelor’s degree in any business field and a finance major or professional qualification.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in financial and business operations are expected to grow by 7% between 2021 and 2031. In that period, about 715,100 new jobs will be added, which will interest many people specializing in finance or related fields.
Some high-demand finance careers include accountants and auditors, retail estate financial careers, sustainable finance careers, financial planning and analysis (FB&A) careers, cost estimators, risk consulting in finance, insurance companies, financial managers, budget analysts, financial analysts jobs, loan officers, market research analysts, logisticians, purchasing managers and financial consulting (fintech) careers.
Some of the in-demand careers in finance require candidates to have advanced degrees in finance, business, math, economics, or statistics.
Is A Finance Career Stable?
The job market is loaded with many financial careers and opportunities and continues to grow yearly. So, generally, finance is a stable career and is not over-saturated like most other occupations. One good thing about a finance career is that it is a broad field and employs a lot of finance graduates.
If you are pursuing job prospects in finance, you should not feel intimidated by unproven facts or myths regarding the finance industry. Almost all financial sectors in the economy have a good number of financial professionals, be they public accounting, auditors, investment managers, or any other opportunity related to finance.
Types Of Finance
As I noted earlier, finance is a broad field subdivided into sub-categories, where each represents the financial space it operates. The most common types are personal, public, and corporate finance.
Personal finance is a management practice where individuals utilize and manage their finances. This includes managing expenditures, budgeting, saving, and investment options, among other plans. Personal finance also involves income generation and overall financial planning.
Main Components Of Personal Finance
Personal finance encompasses different main components or niche areas. These refer to an individual’s practices to manage and grow finances to meet future goals. These components include the following:
Saving refers to keeping money for the future. Since there are inevitable occurrences that would require you to have or spend some money, it is one of the best practices to put some money aside, whether as cash, in a bank account, or in any way you can liquidate immediately.
Spending refers to payments for goods and services for personal consumption. Spending includes individual family costs and expenses such as payments for cleaning services, child care, food, health care, entertainment, and travel, among other costs.
While spending money, it is important to have a budget only to spend what you have planned for. That will help you achieve financial stability since your money is always planned out before you can spend it.
Your income is the money you get from your investment sources or your remuneration, among other things. For example, the income may come from your salary, profit from your business or investment, social security or pension, or income from your rental properties. In personal finance, this is the foundation of your finances since, without income, you will not be able to spend, save, or transact anything involving money.
Investing And Protection
Investing money is a way to multiply your income over a certain period. This involves putting your money in areas such as the stock market that are likely to make your money grow or increase with time.
On the other hand, protection refers to taking measures against your finances that guard against unforeseen events that would otherwise drain your income. This includes insurance and retirement planning, among other protection measures.
Public finance, also called government finance, is how the government raises and spends its revenue from taxes and income from state projects and investments. It is also a broad term that involves budgeting, government money, payment for services, and other activities related to managing the government’s finances through fiscal policy.
Corporate finance is how companies, businesses, or corporations deal with the issues of finances, such as capital structuring, investment decisions, funding sources, and the financial or monetary impact of financial management policies. It also involves working capital management and capital budgeting.
Top Types Of Careers In Finance
There are many in-demand job roles in finance careers. As I indicated earlier, finance is a broad field, and from personal and public to corporate finance, there are many employment opportunities in each financial sector. The area of finance alone employs millions of graduates in different financial fields, and some of the best jobs include but are not limited to the following:
Investment Banking Finance Career
This is one of the banking sections that deal with helping organizations or individuals raise capital and helps them in other financial consultancy services regarding investments. Investment bankers act as a link between investors and security issuers and also help in acquisitions and mergers.
In addition, investment bankers are skilled in accounting, corporate finance and valuation, financial statement analysis, and financial modeling, among other requisite skills. As a result, investment bankers can help new investment firms or businesses go public with those skills.
The average salary of an investment banker is $118,769 per year, according to PayScale. From the salary statistics, investment banking is one of the most rewarding in the financial sector for its employees.
Financial Analyst Finance Career
These experts work to help businesses or individuals in matters of spending money to make a profit. They are skilled in quantitative skills. Their work involves gathering data, analyzing historical facts, and organizing that information for decision-making regarding investments in bonds, stocks, or any other type of investment.
To become a Chartered Financial Analyst, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, with a minimum of four years of experience, and pass the three CFA exams.
It is also important to note that financial analysts face a lot of workload stress, and the work is complex, unlike most other professions. However, a financial analyst’s job pays well and averages $64,797 per year, according to PayScale.
Financial Consultant Or Financial Advisor
Many global prospects in financial consultation are available, which often require a bachelor’s degree in business-related specializations in finance or other relevant specialization options. As a financial consultant or advisor, you will offer financial advice to clients on financial services, investment, planning, savings, and budgeting, among other key financial insights.
According to PayScale, the median salary of a financial consultant or advisor in the United States is about $71,959 to $120,000 per year. Therefore, it is one of the well-paying career options you should consider.
The roles of a financial accountant include tax planning, preparing annual, quarterly, and monthly reports, managing tax payments and internal audits, preparing a budget, monitoring and reporting the inconsistencies in accounting, and keeping up with financial regulations, policies, and practices, among other functions.
The average salary of a financial accountant in the United States is $58,406 annually, according to PayScale. Regarding education requirements, you need a bachelor’s degree in finance-related options such as accounting, finance, or economics.
Quantitative Analyst Financial Career
To become a quantitative analyst, you need a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related field, and you will work as a specialist dealing with financial issues for better decision-making. In addition, it requires excellent mathematical and statistical skills since it deals with complex business models for different sectors of the economy.
According to remuneration, the average salary of a ‘quant’ is $87,987 per year, according to PayScale statistics.
Risk Management Roles
The purpose of risk management is to prevent losses that would come as a result of unprecedented occurrences. Therefore, as a risk manager, you will be tasked with identifying those risks, evaluating them, and prioritizing efforts to minimize the impact they would otherwise have on the business.
According to different salary statistics, risk managers earn decently, and the average is about $92,852 per year, according to PayScale statistics.
Economic Analyst Financial Career
Economic analysts, as the name says, are tasked with analyzing the economic outlook on events and their impact on business. They work with a considerable amount of data to review, research, and document reports on the findings for financial forecasting and use in feasibility studies, among other functions.
According to remuneration, the average salary of an economic analyst in the United States is about $71,851 per year, according to PayScale.
Portfolio Manager Career In Finance
Portfolio managers work with clients to ensure they make the best investment choices. They are skilled and competent in analyzing the markets and devising workable investment strategies, among other functions. In addition to that, they also help clients in the buying and selling of investments.
A career as a portfolio manager is where you can get the most financial rewards. According to Salary statistics, you will earn an average salary of about $114,200 per year as a portfolio manager.
Budget Analyst Financial Career
To become a budget analyst, you need a bachelor’s degree in any financial field and a skill set that includes communication, analytical, math, and writing skills, among others. It is one of the best careers to pursue. It involves reviewing the company’s budget, making recommendations about the budget, and overseeing the company’s or organization’s spending, among other functions.
On the remuneration part, the average salary you can earn working as a budget analyst in the United States is $65,177 per year, according to PayScale.
A financial planner is a specialist tasked with helping clients meet their long-term financial goals by assisting with their current financial needs, such as investing, budgeting, retirement, savings, and insurance, among other vital areas.
However, a financial planner’s duties can vary from one company or organization to another. Still, most require a bachelor’s degree in business and specialization or a major in finance.
Financial planning is a career that earns well. You can make an average of $66,778 per year as a financial planner in the United States, according to PayScale statistics.
Private Equity Associate Financial Career
Private equity associates identify the best investment opportunities, look for investors to raise capital, and do due diligence before the company undertakes any investment. As a private equity associate, you will be tasked with all the processes, from identifying the investment opportunity to raising capital and investing the same money.
To become a private equity associate, you need a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or economics, among other related fields such as mathematics and statistics. In addition, you will earn handsomely for this role since the average salary is about $104,159 per year, according to PayScale.
Actuary Career In Finance
The role of an actuary is to maintain contact with clients, price insurance policies, advise companies or corporations on how to go about regulatory standards to balance capital and help implement risk management software, among other functions.
As an actuary, you need strong mathematical skills such as probability, calculus, statistics, analytical skills, problem solving, computer skills, and finance skills, among others. In addition, you will earn handsomely in this position, and the average salary is about $100,587 per year, according to PayScale.
Security Trader Financial Career
As the name puts it, a security trader is a person who trades stocks, among other commodities offered in the stock exchange market. As a security trader, you can work for an individual or company that buys and sells stocks and other assets on the stock exchange.
Therefore, to venture into this career, you need strong analytical skills and qualifications in any finance-related field, such as economics. In this role, you will earn an average of $77,412 per year, according to PayScale statistics.
Hedge Fund Analyst Career In Finance
One of the best things about being a hedge fund analyst is that it pays handsomely. Even entry-level positions in this field are lucrative. It is perhaps one of the best-paying options compared to other fields.
As a hedge fund manager, you will be tasked with doing quantitative research on securities and market sectors to identify the best trade areas. According to Salary statistics, the average base salary for a hedge fund analyst is $97,238 per year.
Being a finance assistant is the best way to start your career in finance. There are so many entry-level finance job prospects that require graduates in the field of finance to serve as financial assistants.
As a financial assistant, you will be tasked with preparing balance sheets, reconciling bank statements, processing tax payments, and updating the company’s financial spreadsheets, among other functions as may be assigned.
According to Talent statistics, financial assistants in the United States earn an average of $50,931 annually. It is, therefore, one of the best careers with future growth prospects in the finance industry.
Pros And Cons Of Finance Careers
Finance careers are well-rewarding and stable, where global job prospects are constant throughout the year. However, it is a challenging and stressful field with a workload requiring competent personnel and critical thinking skills.
In addition, most professions in the field require one to have a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification. Some of the pros and cons of these finance careers, therefore, include the following:
Pros Of Finance Careers
Finance careers come with tremendous advantages and plenty of growth opportunities. They have significant financial rewards, are stable, and are full of great opportunities. In addition, it is a broad field, and you can easily specialize in an area you are passionate about. Some of the advantages, therefore, include the following:
Of course, a career in finance can be lucrative. Most professions requiring qualifications in specific fields, such as accounting, finance, and professional courses, pay handsomely. The average salary for finance jobs is $79,621 annually. Therefore, this shows that a finance career is worth undertaking and where you get the best high-earning potential even with entry-level roles.
Good Work Hours
In most finance careers, you are not confined to long working hours like in other professions. Some even have flexible schedules where you can choose suitable work times, enhancing a better and balanced lifestyle.
In addition, as a finance professional in most fields, you don’t need to work overnight or overnight shifts since most jobs require you to perform a specific number of hours during the daytime. Therefore, you will have a good balance of work and personal life.
Financial Career Advancement Opportunities
Finance is one of the best fields where you will get the satisfaction you want and an opportunity for career advancement. Most fields in finance will allow you to grow to become your best in that field.
Therefore, if you want to advance and grow in finance, consider accumulating your experience and skills by continuing education in finance in the area of your specialization or by obtaining additional certifications. For instance, if you are a finance manager, you have an opportunity to grow and become a chief financial officer (CFO).
Diversification In Career Options
As I mentioned before, the finance field is vast and has a lot of diversified career options that you can specialize in. In addition, due to the many career types and options in finance, you can choose one that fits your area of specialization.
Some of the best examples of finance career options include financial planner, financial analyst, actuarial science analyst, budget analyst, financial adviser, insurance underwriter, investment advisor, auditor, accountant, credit analyst, and risk specialist.
Cons Of Finance Careers
Where there is an advantage, there is also a disadvantage. For example, finance careers are lucrative and have diversified fields for growth, among other benefits I have discussed. However, it also comes with some disadvantages that include the following:
Though finance careers are lucrative, some also come with high-stress levels due to the nature of the jobs that require one to meet some targets or tight deadlines. For instance, sales agents or managers must meet the company’s targets to continue holding their positions or for career advancement.
Again, for instance, the tax season and the last quarter come with many workloads for staff, requiring one to complete a specific number of tasks that may come with tight deadlines.
Most finance jobs or careers require a bachelor’s degree in any relevant business field. However, the degree program can take about four years of study, and hence it may take longer for one to achieve their dreams in finance. In addition to that, some jobs will require one to have some professional qualifications such as CPA certifications or CFA qualifications.
Common Types Of Finance Career Degrees
Some different programs and degrees would confine you to becoming a finance specialist in any sector, and these degrees may vary from one university or college to another. However, some common degrees in this field include business, specializing in finance, arts, economics, and science.
Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the nature of finance, most graduates and students who want to pursue a career in finance are sometimes torn between competing choices. Naturally, this comes with numerous questions that anyone in the field or passionate about finance may ask. In that regard, some of the frequently asked questions about a finance career include:
How Long Does It Take To Get A Degree In Finance?
A degree in finance can take you four years of study to complete. In most universities, that is equivalent to about eight semesters divided into four academic years. Therefore, if you are passionate about a career in finance, you should prepare for the four years that your degree course will take, whether you are doing a BA or a BS in finance.
Is Finance A BA Or BS?
Finance is available in both options as an art and as a science. There is. Therefore, a strong relationship between arts and science is helpful in financial planning and management, among other practices.
As an art, finance is a discipline that involves the relationship of the people with money, customization of ideas, and creativity of a finance individual in dealing with money matters.
On the other hand, finance as science involves using scientific methods derived from scientific-based areas such as mathematics and statistics to solve money problems and financial issues.
Therefore, both BA and BS finance options are available. Both are important and interrelated in how money operates in the economy and the management and planning of the same.
Whether finance is a good career path or not is what I have discussed above. In a nutshell, a finance career is a promising career, and it does not just pay well, but it is also stable and has many career advancement opportunities. Most finance fields are lucrative, and opportunities for career advancement make them one of the best career options to choose from.