Career Outlook - Finance

Financial analysts help people decide how to invest their money. They work for banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, and securities firms. They often meet with company officials to learn more about the firms in which they want to invest. After the meetings, the analysts write reports and give talks about what they found out. Then, they suggest buying or selling that firm's stock.

Financial analysts may specialize. Those in investment banking help companies that want to sell stock to the public for the first time. They also might study the pros and cons of a merger (when two companies join) or a takeover (when one company buys another). Some financial analysts are ratings analysts. They work for firms that provide ratings of companies in the market.

Financial analysts usually work in fast-paced offices. They recommend to clients when to buy and sell investments, may work long hours staying up to date on economic trends, business news, and news from companies in various sectors of the economy. They also write reports explaining their analysis, share their expertise with colleagues who aren't financial experts, and sometimes communicate their perspectives to the public. Many work for financial companies, including those in the financial services and insurance industries. One in three financial analysts put in between 50 and 70 hours per week, sometimes working on evenings or weekends (reference: http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/financial-analyst).

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Financial Analyst

Education and Training

Most financial analysts have a college degree in business, accounting, statistics, or finance. A master's degree in business administration (MBA) is desirable.

Math, computer, and problem-solving skills are vital. Working with clients requires good people skills. Confidence, maturity, and the ability to work on your own are important, too. Analysts also need good communication skills to explain complex financial ideas using simple words.

Financial analysts must be able to look for obscure facts and details about companies.

To get ready for these jobs, it helps to learn how to make presentations and write reports. It also helps to read about business news.

How Much does this Job Pay?

In May 2015, the median yearly wages of financial analysts were $80,310, with the lowest-paid making $48,170 and the highest-paid making $154,680. Many financial analysts also have the opportunities to earn bonuses, which can add a lot to their earnings.

How Many Jobs are there?

There were 277,600 financial analysts in 2015. Many work at the head offices of big financial firms. Many of these jobs are in New York City, California, and Texas. Check out the financial analyst jobs by state.

What About the Future?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 23 percent between 2010 and 2020, much faster than the average for all professions. That means approximately another 55,000 positions will open up by 2020. Banks, mutual fund companies, and other investment firms will need more financial analysts in the future. However, competition for these jobs will still be fierce, particularly for new analysts, because they will be in such high demand (reference: http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/financial-analyst).

Additional Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Research Jobs and Majors

U.S. News & World Report Careers

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