Best Careers in Finance

Number of Jobs

39, 300

Median Salary

$78, 380

Unemployment Rate

3.3 percent

Financial analysts keep their fingers on the pulse of the economy. They help their clients by recommending when to buy and sell investments and by staying current on economic trends, business news and company strategy. They also write reports that explain their analyses, share their expertise with colleagues who aren’t financial experts and sometimes communicate their perspectives to the public and financial media. Many work for financial companies, including those in the financial services and insurance industries. For their influence and sizeable paychecks, financial analysts pay the price by working long hours: One in three put in between 50 and 70 hours a week.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 15.5 percent, or 39, 300 jobs, by 2022, which is much faster than the average for all professions. But competition for these jobs is fierce, especially among analysts new to the field.

The paycheck is good. Financial analysts earned a median of $78, 380 in 2013, with the lowest-paid making $48, 100 and the highest-paid making $152, 420. The best-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Bridgeport, Connecticut; New York City; and San Francisco.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $106, 470


While a bachelor’s degree is required (usually in a finance-related field), many financial analysts also earn master’s degrees in finance or business administration and take additional financial analyst courses. Many in the field also become certified financial analysts, and employers often sponsor certification and licensing programs. You’ll get an advantage in the field by obtaining a certification, like a chartered financial analyst, or by taking advanced courses in subjects related to your specialty. The ambitious may take on larger responsibilities and advance to supervisory positions, and the best of the best may go on to become fund managers.

Manisha Thakor, founder and CEO of MoneyZen Wealth Management, says the financial services industry is changing quickly, which means the days of linear career paths are largely over. Her biggest piece of advice for aspiring analysts is to gain work experience while studying. “Something as basic as offering to work with an established financial professional for five to 10 hours a month can make all the difference, ” she says. Thakor adds that networking and building relationships in the field is also essential. “So remember to keep one hand in the books and one hand out shaking new ones.”

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good High
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility good Below Average

It's Interesting

  • Food Jobs is a book by Irena Chalmers that profiles 150 careers in the culinary industry, from fortune cooking message writer to executive chef. It contains essays and quotes by real-life chefs and culinary experts like Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain, Danny Meyer, Alice Waters, and Todd English.
    It was published in 2008. It was later awarded the...

You might also like

The Best College for Every Major
The Best College for Every Major
Best Financial Advice Find What Works For You ~ Finance Tips
Best Financial Advice Find What Works For You ~ Finance Tips

Copyright © . All Rights Reserved