Apr 19, 2021 11:20 AM EDT
The 5 Hottest Finance Positions for Graduates in 2021
The financial sector has long been an attractive prospect for new graduates. Thanks to challenging career roles and great compensation, entry-level financial jobs can be extremely competitive to get into. Those who do get in can expect compensation to reach mid-five figures and even high five figures in some functions.
While the queue for these positions might be long, the truth is that finance is a vast industry, and there are more unconventional positions opening as the days go by. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in the financial sector is projected to grow by 5% every year over the next decade.
There are many entry-level financial jobs for graduates out there. Here are 5 of the most promising ones for 2021.
Quantitative analysts or Quants as they are known study financial markets and model the prices of assets using statistics and mathematical techniques. Aside from asset prices, quants are also responsible for designing trading systems that take market participant behavior into account, along with historical volatility.
Pretty much every firm operating in the securities industry needs a quant. The most common places of employment for a quant are a hedge fund, investment bank, insurance company, and a large commercial bank. While the focus of a quant will vary between these firms, the skills required don't.
A quant is primarily concerned with modeling the behavior of whatever they're focusing on and providing inputs that portfolio managers and traders can use. Typically, such modeling requires knowledge of advanced mathematical and statistical methods.
Most quants are hired out of graduate school and have advanced degrees in physics and mathematics, minimum a MSc with most have a PhD. However, it is sometimes possible to transition into this role by applying for a job as a research analyst after studying for a degree in a field that provides quantitative skills such as engineering, mathematics, physics, statistics, and economics.
People in these positions usually return to school and then transition into a quant role. Quants earn an average salary of $106,751 in the United States.
Financial analysts occupy varied roles in the financial sector. Some analysts work as equity research analysts and research companies or assets that their firm is targeting or is looking to package securities for.
They can also work within corporate planning and analysis teams by projecting budgets, analyzing cash flow, preparing working capital projections, and forecast demand models for their companies. Typically, a BA in finance or related fields such as accounting or economics is required to enter such positions.
These days companies demand additional IT skills for these roles as well. The proliferation of big data has meant that all analysts need to be proficient in querying databases and retrieving data without technical assistance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a financial analyst in the United States is $81,590.
Investment Banking Analyst
The work-life balance of the average investment banking analyst has come into focus recently, thanks to junior bankers at Goldman Sachs highlighting the extremely skewed expectations they face. However, there's no denying that the compensation and perks offered make this a worthwhile career to pursue.
Typically, an investment banking analyst transitions out of this role into a more lucrative opportunity after a period of 2 or 3 years. This could involve attending graduate school for an MBA or transitioning to an Associate's role with a private equity firm or a hedge fund.
The most common duties of an analyst are procuring deal-related materials and modeling numbers associated with them. Analysts routinely collect financial material for due diligence and analyze corporate performance.
They usually possess degrees in economics, finance, engineering, or the liberal arts. Compensation starts at $67,817 according to PayScale and is augmented with hefty bonuses.
Global Payroll Analyst
This position is a result of changing work patterns and isn't something you'll find talked about quite often. However, thanks to the growing number of companies working on a remote or distributed based and large companies working asynchronously around the globe, the demand for global payroll analysts has increased exponentially.
Global payroll within a company works, according to this definition to consolidate all payment and payroll-related data streams from around the globe in one place. Analysts then monitor these data for trends, potential cash flow issues, and areas where increased efficiency can be created.
Typically, enterprises utilize payroll analytics platforms to collect employee data. Analysts in this field will be expected to have IT skills and query data to build dashboards for management analysis. Salaries depend on a person's educational background and their ability to work with large amounts of data.
There's no denying that this role is one of the fastest-growing and exciting fields available to finance graduates today.
Since the Great Recession of 2008, regulators have imposed greater reporting requirements on enterprises in the financial sector. As a result, auditing functions have become more important than ever before. Much of an auditor's work overlaps with an accountant's.
However, auditors typically analyze financial statements and reports prepared by accountants and conduct risk assessments. They're also responsible for ensuring the company is complying with regulations and is filing all information as required with the authorities.
Typically, entry-level jobs involve working with a senior auditor as part of a team, with career progression depending on attaining a Certified Public Accountant or CPA license. Another valuable credential that assists in career progression is the Certified Internal Auditor or CIA license.
The average salary offered is $71,550 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many Paths, Many Opportunities
The financial sector is a vast one, and there is no end to the number of roles that fresh graduates can apply for. These 5 roles are the ones that are in demand right now. All of them demand different skills and educational backgrounds.
However, it's safe to say that a passion for numbers and the ability to think independently are at the top of the list for all of them.
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