Financial analysts are part of an industry that is set to grow 23 percent over the next ten years, which is more than most other professions. While the growth predicted is certainly promising, this is besides the fact that competition is more intense than ever. Financial analysts earn good money, upwards of $145,000 on the high end and $46,000 on the low end.
A View of the Market
It is also true that financial services are always introducing new products, but this is relative to the fact that more applicants are eyeing the position. Actually, there are more hopefuls than there are available jobs, which means certification and graduate work is practically a prerequisite.
This fast-paced world, dominated by Wall Street, and involving advisement on whether to buy or sell requires heavy research skills and a familiarity with the market beyond the peripheral. Financial analysts stay up to date on all aspects of a field, from business news to economic trends to strategy.
This is now a major factor in establishing one’s self as a leader in the field. Longer hours are also becoming the norm—sometimes beyond 70 hours a week, as knowing the financial sector and keeping apprised of the latest developments is certainly well beyond the scope of a nine-to-five job.
Another 54,200 positions are set to open up over the next decade, and many of them will go to experienced workers, those with college training as well as proven experience. Students and newcomers will find it shrewd to learn more about geographic regions of interest, which will be part of their analysis for niche clients. This is arguably the strongest point for growth.
What Your Focus Should Be On
In addition to location, you should focus on building a more complex portfolio and concentrate on financial products that are in-demand. Being familiar with new international markets and investment opportunities is an important part of the job, and is well beyond the comfort zone of traditional finance theory.
Another aspect to consider is that of regulatory reform. Recent laws put into effect that restrict banking actions affect the industry and now allow growth in new ways; specifically in hedge funds and private equity.
Many experts on the inside claim that the industry is constantly changing and thus the idea of a linear career path is idealistic. More emphasis is being put on work experience; the ideal time is when you’re young and studying in college. Sometimes just five to ten hours of experience a month is enough to make a resume stand out. A greater emphasis is also placed upon building relationships and networking with others.
Familiarity with investment products, including 401ks and pensions is beneficial since you will be expected to explain these products to clients and guide them towards making wiser investments. This suggests that, in addition to financial training and work experience, perfecting communication and decision-making skills is also vital.
Back to regional familiarity—sources indicate that certain states have greater growth potential than others; Utah, North Dakota and Virginia are all leading the way and this should be taken into account.
Why not plan on developing a career in financial analysis? If you have careful attention to detail and have the capacity for constant analysis and planning, you will fit right into the field.