In a nutshell: Financial sector job growth was resilient during the downturn, and the outlook remains strong now that the economy has rebounded.

Financial services, taken as a whole, is a major component of the United States’ broad service-based economy. Like every sector, financial services sees ups and downs in employment, but it has survived the last downturn and is anticipated to see job growth that outpaces the national average for all jobs.

Why the increase? There are a number of factors driving growth in job opportunities for those in finance, including an increasing complexity of financial investments that require expertise to handle properly and an aging American population that needs a guiding financial hand to prepare for retirement.

If you have an interest in financial services, you might want to start with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance. You might also consider an MBA (master’s of business administration) with a concentration or focus in finance. Here are four positions you might consider once you’ve achieved the appropriate education level:

Financial Analyst

With a 11 percent projection for job growth by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and a median salary of about $84,300 (see note at bottom of article), financial analyst is a coveted position within the financial world. Those at the top of the game analyze the financial statements of companies, determining the projected financial path of a company against the backdrop of the greater economic picture.

Personal Financial Advisor

The 15 percent gain in the number of jobs by 2026 – a projection made by the BLS – is just the first bit of worthy news about personal financial advisors. More good news includes: the median pay for personal finance advisors was about $90,640 in 2017; many receive bonuses significantly above and beyond the base salary; the number of people hitting retirement age and needing financial advice is growing.

Accountant

Accountants will always be in demand as long as there are businesses that require someone to balance the books correctly. The BLS expects the number of accountants to increase by about 10 percent by 2026, which means almost 140,00 new jobs. Accountants are like doctors for the financial health of a company, and good ones can keep things running well. Essentially, accountants review all financial documents to make sure everything is correct and also ensure a company or individual pays taxes on time. The median pay in 2017 was $69,350 a year.

Loan Officer

Typically working with a bank, loan officers meet with individuals and help them complete the steps necessary to secure a loan. Loan officers also must evaluate whether applicants are eligible for loans or are a good or bad loan risk for the financial institution. The BLS projects a solid 11 percent increase in the number of loan officer jobs by 2026, with about 36,300 people moving into the profession. The median pay for a loan officer was $64,660 in 2017.

A word from our lawyers about BLS statistics: Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential as salaries may vary depending on location, education level and other factors.

 

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