Are you looking to break into the finance field? It’s one of the most lucrative career fields, with a wealth of jobs available at every level of experience. But just how many jobs are available in finance? The answer depends on what kind of financial job you’re looking for, but here’s some data on where the demand lies in this field and why so many people choose it as their profession.
The reality of job numbers
According to a report released last week by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, US financial services firms will be adding 75,000 new jobs over the next four years. That’s a slower rate than we saw during previous rebounds from the recession.
And it falls well short of what is needed to fill all existing openings—not to mention absorbing all college graduates who will enter our profession during that period.
What do you need to get a job in finance?
Well, it depends on what job you’re looking for. Want to be a corporate-finance analyst at a mid-sized firm—one of those firms that are often middlemen between buyers and sellers of, say, oil or freight? Then all you need is a bachelor’s degree.
In fact, although most banks want candidates with an MBA—which takes three years to complete—nearly 70% don’t require one. (There’s even a term for these entry-level positions: analysts.)
But if you have your heart set on working as an investment banker, then yes, things get more complicated. You’ll probably need to get an MBA from a top school; work at big companies like Morgan Stanley (ms) or Goldman Sachs (gs), and spend many years building up your skills before landing any plum deals.
Financial roles that can be filled by entry-level employees
While most finance positions require a bachelor’s degree, there are some available for recent graduates with an associate’s or master’s degree. The most common entry-level role is that of an analyst.
An analyst analyzes financial data, helps identify opportunities and risks, and helps make recommendations on how to proceed.
Some analysts do research and provide financial analysis independently, while others work in teams to provide support for investment decisions made by fund managers.
The skills required for most financial roles
To understand how many jobs are available in finance, it’s helpful to know what skills are necessary for various types of roles. The skills and educational requirements vary widely based on job function.
For instance, financial analysts need strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, while hedge fund managers need strong leadership abilities and top-notch networking skills. Regardless of your title or job function, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree at a minimum.
Focusing on essential skills
Whatever industry you’re interested in, there are two types of skills that will make or break you. The first is technical—fundamentals like number crunching and financial modeling.
The second is soft skills: things like time management and collaboration. Even if your primary focus isn’t financing, knowing how to build spreadsheets, crunch numbers, and read a P&L statement can put you above 90% of college grads.
Learning more about technical skills and other options
It’s often assumed that most financial sector positions require a finance degree, but according to a new report from Burning Glass Technologies, an analysis firm that specializes in job listings, there are more jobs available in finance for workers without degrees than workers with them.
The company analyzed more than 800,000 listings from 25 of the largest markets across several industry sectors and found nearly two-thirds (65.5 percent) of job postings for financial roles were also looking for candidates with technical skills such as coding or accounting software expertise.