Are you looking to jumpstart your career in the financial sector? Start by getting the lowdown on the best-paying jobs in finance.
The finance sector plays a significant role in our money world. It’s where money moves and numbers dance and provides many jobs. There’s something for everyone, from number crunchers to risk analysts and accountants to financial advisors.
As companies grow, they need more people to handle their finances. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports finance jobs in the U.S. are expected to grow by around 5% in the next few years. So, if you’re into numbers, trends, and helping businesses manage their money, the finance sector might be for you.
This article will give you an overview of the best-paying jobs in finance, complete with job descriptions, salary estimates, sample companies, and skills required. Select each title and choose one that suits your circumstances and preferences.
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The CFO leads a company’s financial planning, risk management, and reporting. They work closely with top management and strategize on long-term financial goals.
With an average salary of over $400,000, this is one of the best ways to make over $500k working in finance.
Example: Accountancy Cloud is a global technology conglomerate focusing on innovative solutions for the digital age.
- Average Annual Pay: $430,616
- Required Qualifications: Master’s degree in Finance or MBA; experience in financial leadership
- Skills Needed: Strong analytical and decision-making skills
The CCO plays a vital role in ensuring a company’s operations follow the laws and regulations of its industry. From overseeing internal policies to assessing potential risks, a CCO must have a firm grasp of all regulatory matters.
Example: MedTech Innovation is a leading medical technology firm where regulatory adherence is paramount.
- Average Annual Pay: $241,801
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Law or Business Administration; a minimum of 5 years experience in compliance or legal field
- Skills Needed: Excellent communication, ethical judgment, and risk management expertise
A tax director plays a critical role in a company’s financial planning. They oversee the entire tax department, ensure compliance with all tax laws, and create strategies to minimize tax liabilities. Working for major corporations or consulting firms, they are the go-to people for all tax-related issues.
Example: Global Retail Group is a multinational corporation requiring expert tax strategies across various regions.
- Average Annual Pay: $190,592
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or Finance; CPA License
- Skills Needed: Deep understanding of tax laws, excellent communication skills, and strategic planning abilities
Hedge fund managers are in charge of investment funds that aim to profit from market fluctuations. Their tasks include developing investment strategies, managing portfolios, and overseeing traders. Working in hedge funds or asset management firms, they are at the forefront of high-stakes financial decisions.
Example: Bridgewater Associates is a globally recognized hedge fund firm specializing in asset management and return strategies.
- Average Annual Pay: $137,426
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance or Economics; relevant Experience in Investments
- Skills Needed: Analytical thinking, decision-making abilities, and market knowledge are the high-income skills needed to be successful in this field
Credit risk managers analyze the financial stability of loan applicants, determining the risk involved in lending money. Working for banks or other financial institutions, they ensure the loans granted align with the company’s risk appetite, managing the balance between profit and risk.
Example: BankFirst is a major banking institution offering various lending products to individuals and businesses.
- Average Annual Pay: $130,437
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance or Business; relevant experience in Credit Analysis
- Skills Needed: Detail-oriented; risk assessment and strong numerical skills
Financial managers are responsible for the overall financial health of an organization. They create financial reports, monitor investment activities, and develop strategies for the long-term financial goals of their company.
Example: Global Financial Solutions is a multinational corporation known for its strategic financial management.
- Average Annual Pay: $125,000
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Accounting, or related field; MBA preferred
- Skills Needed: Strong analytical, organizational, and leadership skills; proficiency in financial software
Private equity associates work with investment funds that buy and manage companies. They are responsible for deal sourcing, financial modeling, and managing portfolio companies.
Example: A role at a firm involved in alternative asset management like Blackstone would involve significant due diligence and transaction management.
- Average Annual Pay: $115,000
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field; 2+ years of experience in investment banking
- Skills Needed: Financial modeling and strong networking abilities
Financial risk managers identify potential risks affecting a company’s profitability. They create strategies to minimize or eliminate financial losses.
Example: Proactive Finance Group is a leading financial services firm emphasizing risk mitigation and proactive financial strategies.
- Average Annual Pay: $102,372
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Economics, or related field; certifications in risk management
- Skills Needed: Analytical thinking and attention to detail
A senior accountant manages financial records, audits, and prepares financial statements. They also play a key role in guiding junior accountants and ensuring law compliance.
Example: Global Manufacturing Inc. is a multinational manufacturing company requiring precise accounting and financial oversight.
- Average Annual Pay: $87,890
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance; CPA certification
- Skills Needed: Proficiency in financial software and Excel
Investment bankers help companies and governments raise capital by issuing stocks and bonds. They are instrumental in mergers and acquisitions and often work long hours.
Example: Morgan Stanley is an international investment banking firm known for its work in capital raising and mergers.
- Average Annual Pay: $85,255
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Accounting, or related field; MBA highly preferred
- Skills Needed: Exceptional analytical, decision-making, and interpersonal skills; understanding of financial markets
Management analysts are essential in evaluating a company’s efficiency and proposing enhancements. They work with management to improve operations, reduce costs, and implement new systems.
Example: This role might involve detailed evaluations of workflow processes at a company like Deloitte that provides audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and related services.
- Average Annual Pay: $84,123
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Business or related field; work experience in a related job
- Skills Needed: Analytical thinking and strong communication skills
Loan officers evaluate loan applications and assist individuals in obtaining necessary funding. They work with banks or other financial institutions to facilitate borrowing for clients. Loan officers analyze credit data, meet with applicants, and explain loan terms.
Example: Community Trust Bank is a nationally recognized bank focused on personal and small business loans.
- Average Annual Pay: $80,824
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance or Business; licensing might be required
- Skills Needed: Excellent communication, understanding of lending rules, and customer service skills
Economic analysts forecast market trends and provide data to businesses and government agencies. They analyze economic data, track policy changes, and often specialize in sectors like healthcare or energy.
Example: At Goldman Sachs, which delivers varied financial services to a diversified client base, an Economic Analyst might provide insights into financial markets.
- Average Annual Pay: $80,296
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Economics; strong statistical background
- Skills Needed: Analytical abilities and proficiency in statistical software
Internal auditors inspect and evaluate the organization’s financial and operational processes. They ensure the company is adhering to the regulations and suggest improvements.
Example: Baker Tilly is a leading pharmaceutical company with extensive operations across multiple continents.
- Average Annual Pay: $78,233
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or related field; certifications like CIA or CISA
- Skills Needed: Good understanding of audit principles
Personal financial advisors work closely with individuals, offering investment, insurance, and retirement planning advice. They assess financial goals and create tailored plans to help clients achieve them.
For example, as a personal finance advisor, you could compare funds like FXAIX and VFIAX to know which fund would fit your client best. You help them make decisions for their specific financial situation.
Example: Vanguard is a well-known firm specializing in personal finance, asset management, and investment planning
- Average Annual Pay: $72,820
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance or Economics Certification (e.g., CFP)
- Skills Needed: Analytical abilities, interpersonal skills, and ethical judgment
Financial analysts analyze financial data and trends to advise businesses on their financial decisions. These pros dig into financial data and provide insights to help companies make sound business decisions.
Example: Amazon is a trillion-dollar e-commerce marketplace actively recruiting a Financial Analyst.
- Average Annual Pay: $70,000
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Economics, or related field; CFA certification preferred
- Skills Needed: Strong mathematical, analytical, and Excel skills
A budget analyst plays a significant role in managing an organization’s financial plans. Evaluating budget proposals and measuring the financial alignment with organizational goals help steer the company’s economic direction.
Example: Northrop Grumman is a rapidly growing Aerospace company keen on efficient budget allocation for various projects and departments.
- Average Annual Pay: $63,932
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, or related field; previous experience in budgeting or financial analysis is preferred
- Skills Needed: Proficiency in spreadsheet software, critical thinking, and problem-solving ability
A financial examiner is responsible for monitoring the legal aspects of financial transactions within banks and other institutions. This job ensures all activities comply with the relevant laws and regulations. By meticulously inspecting bank statements and financial records, they safeguard the financial stability of organizations.
Example: Regulatory Compliance Associates is a specialized firm assisting banks and financial institutions in aligning with industry regulations.
- Average Annual Pay: $63,046
- Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, or Economics; relevant certification such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Skills Needed: Strong attention to detail, analytical thinking, and understanding of financial laws
Are you looking to secure a high-paying finance job? Here are six practical tips to guide you on your journey.
- Identify the highest-paying finance jobs: Start by researching. Look at the various roles in the finance sector. Some jobs pay more than others. Think investment banking or hedge fund management. Know your aim, and you’re on the right track.
- Get a relevant degree: Education matters. A degree in finance, economics, or something related is often necessary. Check the job descriptions and requirements of your desired role. Then, plan your education accordingly.
- Consider getting certifications: Certificates can boost your resume. Think about getting something like the CFA or CPA. They prove your skills and might give you an edge over others.
- Network: Knowing people helps. Attend industry events. Connect with professionals on LinkedIn. A recommendation from someone in the industry could make all the difference.
- Be prepared for interviews: Practice makes perfect. Know the common questions. Understand the company’s culture. Be ready to explain why you’re the best fit. Preparation can turn an interview into a job offer.
- Develop hard and soft skills: Hard skills are technical abilities, like analyzing financial statements. Soft skills include things like communication and teamwork. Both are essential for a successful career in finance.
Working in finance can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. It requires understanding numbers, staying updated with trends, and having good decision-making skills. With dedication and learning, you can navigate the world of finance.
Among the toughest finance jobs is being an investment banker. They deal with complex deals, long hours, and high-pressure situations. It’s like a financial puzzle that needs strategic thinking to solve.
A finance, accounting, economics, or business degree can set you on the right track. These degrees provide a solid foundation in financial concepts and give you a head start in finance.
Undoubtedly, the highest-paid finance jobs are those of Chief Financial Officers ($430,616 on average).
As for mid-level finance jobs, hedge fund managers often earn the highest salaries at an average of $137,426. They handle investments for their clients and take a share of the profits. Their earnings can reach impressive heights due to the nature of their work.
Making your dreams come true begins with the first smart step: research. Hopefully, this list will give you a clearer idea of which route to take in your professional journey as a finance specialist.
This article by Marjolein Dilven originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks, and was republished with permission.
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