Do finances and stocks excite you? A financial analyst job may be worth considering. Finance jobs are growing faster than most, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, so this field is perfect if you’re seeking job security.
We’ve researched financial analyst jobs, salaries and where you can find them, so read on to learn more.
Main Takeaways: Getting a Financial Analyst Job
- You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to work in this field. Subjects you could study include economics, math, accounting, statistics, and more.
- The field is projected to grow. Financial analyst jobs are expected to grow by double digits in the coming years.
- Read on to learn salary expectations, skills that can help you succeed, and to browse our live listings.
- Overview: What Does a Financial Analyst Job Entail?
- Do I Need a Finance Degree to Work in this Field?
- Types of Financial Analyst Jobs and Titles
- Salary Ranges and Expectations for Financial Analyst Jobs
- Projected Growth Rate of the Financial Analyst Field
- How to Get a Financial Analyst Job
- Top 10 Skills to Be Successful in Financial Analysis
- Opportunities Abound in the Finance Industry
Overview: What Does a Financial Analyst Job Entail?
Financial analysts provide guidance to individuals and businesses regarding investment decisions. Other typical job tasks include:
- Recommending investments and portfolios
- Assessing past and present financial data, including financial statements
- Meeting with business leaders regarding financial goals and strategies
- Studying business and economic trends
- Preparing and presenting financial reports
Financial analysts play a key role in determining an organization’s financial performance. Usually, they report to top executives such as a chief financial officer or a chief operating officer.
Do I Need a Finance Degree to Work in this Field?
At a minimum, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in economics, statistics, accounting, finance or business if you’re pursuing a financial analyst job. If you’d like to be more marketable, a master’s degree in business is desirable, and depending on your area of expertise, you could acquire additional finance certifications such as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certifications.
Types of Financial Analyst Jobs and Titles
A financial analyst job falls under the larger category of finance jobs, but there are subcategories within this job title as well. Let’s take a look at some sample job titles and descriptions to give you options.
Entry-Level Financial Analyst Jobs
An entry-level financial analyst is likely still in grad school or an intern at a corporation. They may prepare financial reports, develop forecast models, conduct business studies and analyze financial performance and results. This analyst would be part of a larger finance team and report to a finance manager or director.
Sample job titles: Entry-level financial analyst, junior financial analyst, financial analyst intern
Investment Analyst Jobs
Investment analysts focus primarily on an organization’s investments rather than an overall picture of its financial health. They are responsible for analyzing current investments, researching optimal investments and providing reports on both, including recommendations and guidance.
Sample job titles: Investment analyst, financial analyst, corporate investment analyst
Chartered Financial Analyst Jobs
A chartered financial analyst is a specialized designation offered by the CFA Institute. Candidates must pass 3 levels of exams in areas such as accounting, economics, money management and security analysis. Note: Historically, the pass rate on these exams is below 50%; it’s of the most difficult financial certifications. A minimum of 300 hours of study is recommended for each exam.
Sample job titles: Chartered financial analyst, financial analyst, certified financial analyst
Financial Advisor Jobs
Financial advisors provide financial advice to individuals and companies about which financial services and investments would be appropriate based on their current financial situation. Other job functions include debt management, budgeting, long- and short-term financial planning and debt consolidation.
Financial advisors can be generalists or specialize in areas such as retirement and tax planning. Depending on the state you live in and the company you work for, you may be required to obtain specific certifications or licenses.
Sample job titles: Financial advisor, certified financial advisor, money manager
Trading Analyst Jobs
A trading analyst monitors the stock market closely and provides advice to individuals and businesses based on their profitability and growth needs. Common duties include meeting clients to discuss financial goals, performing research, creating reports, advising clients and providing corporate reviews.
Sample job titles: Trading analyst, risk and trading financial analyst, stock market analyst
Tax Analyst Jobs
A tax analyst is a specialized financial analyst who focuses on keeping companies compliant with tax laws and regulations, preparing tax returns and finding opportunities for savings in taxes and related costs. Tax analysts would likely have their own business as independent contractors and hired by an organization as outside consultants.
Sample job titles: Tax analyst, corporate tax analyst, senior tax analyst
Equity Analyst Jobs
An equity analyst studies public records of businesses to determine their financial needs. They work in securities or brokerage firms, insurance companies, mutual or pension funds, banks and security investment markets. They also review and report on stocks, bonds and other assets.
Sample job titles: Equity analyst, venture capital analyst, private equity analyst
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Financial Analyst Jobs
Financial analyst jobs pay quite well. The average median salary is $85,660 or roughly $41 per hour, according to U.S. government statistics. If you specialize in a particular area, your salary will go up even more. For example, personal financial advisors earn over $88,000 per year.
Projected Growth Rate of the Financial Analyst Field
The projected job growth rate for financial analysts is 11%, much faster than other occupations. Certain states have a higher growth rate for financial analysts, such as Alaska (133%), Vermont (48%) and Washington (37%).
How to Get a Financial Analyst Job
Once you’ve earned a finance degree, what are the next steps to look for a job? Here are some job search tips to help get you started:
- Follow the industry: Keep up to date with the latest in financial news and laws by reading financial news online and subscribing to other financial news sources.
- Visit your college’s career center: Whether you’re a student or graduate, you can have your resume evaluated and get help with your job search at your academic career center.
- Network: Add connections on LinkedIn, join finance groups on Facebook and join professional finance organizations to network with colleagues and gain access to new job postings.
- Find an internship: Many companies such as BlackRock and Deutsche Bank offer paid internships of up to $5,000 for one summer, so they’re worth checking out.
- Start a finance blog: You can start a finance blog using a site such as WordPress on topics that interest you. You can share your blog on LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites.
- Research your job targets: Make a wishlist of the companies you want to work for and visit their career pages to search for job opportunities.
- Tap employment agencies: Some staffing agencies specialize in matching candidates with finance-related jobs, so these are good places to explore.
- Start your own business: If you want to work for yourself, consider starting your own financial services business. You can advertise on social media and create an inexpensive website.
- Do some work gratis: Volunteer to analyze finances for a local church or nonprofit organization, and provide them with advice and recommendations. Never underestimate the power of volunteer work on your resume in addition to traditional employment.
- Keep learning: Even after you’ve earned a degree, it never hurts to take additional financial analyst courses to keep up with changing educational requirements.
Top 10 Skills to Be Successful in Financial Analysis
What kind of abilities are required if you’re interested in becoming a financial analyst? Here’s a list of the top 10 skills you’ll need to be successful in this role:
1. Research Skills
Financial analysts need to be proficient in data mining and other research techniques before performing an analysis, so good research skills are a necessity. You’ll need to understand research methodologies and know how to interpret the data you mine.
2. Analytical Skills
Successful financial analysts should be adept at using financial spreadsheets and databases to analyze and interpret financial data. You should be skilled at reviewing large volumes of data in a relatively short period of time.
3. Problem-Solving Skills
As a financial analyst, you’ll need to be able to identify complex problems and develop effective solutions. You may need to present several solutions to decision-makers so they can choose the best route based on budget and other factors.
4. Mathematical Skills
Good math skills are needed for any finance job, as you’ll need to perform calculations as well as analyze and interpret numerical data. You may be required to perform complex mathematical algorithms, so if math isn’t your forte, this job is not for you.
5. Technical Skills
Financial analysts need to be tech-savvy and proficient using many software programs and systems such as QuickBooks, Excel and NaviPlan. Because most financial research and analysis is performed online, you should be proficient using the internet, Google, and other search engines.
6. Communication Skills
Although technical and mathematical skills are a big part of a financial analyst’s job, people skills are just as important. Once you’ve analyzed and gathered financial data, you’ll need to communicate your findings and recommendations to colleagues, business leaders and business partners, both verbally and in written form. What’s more, you need to present complex financial data in a way that’s easy for clients to understand.
7. Relationship-Building Skills
Whether you’re working for an individual client or a large corporation, you’ll be building relationships with people. If you want to be viewed as a trusted financial analyst and advisor, you’ll need good relationship management skills.
8. Project Management Skills
Most tasks you perform as a financial analyst will be project-based, so you should be good at developing project plans, setting milestones and measuring key deliverables.
9. Organizational Skills
You’ll have to juggle a lot of objectives, schedules and tasks as a financial analyst, so you’ll need strong organizational skills. You’ll also need to be able to compile data, research findings, and analysis results in an efficient and organized way that clients can easily understand.
10. Critical Thinking Skills
Financial analysts need to use logic and reason to identify problems and develop multiple solutions. You’ll be tasked with analyzing information objectively to make a reasonable judgment, so critical thinking is necessary.
Opportunities Abound in the Finance Industry
With a starting salary of over $85,000, a financial analyst job offers above-average pay and a good plan for retirement. Demand for financial analysts is going up, with more than 32,000 more jobs expected to be added by 2026.
Plus, financial analysts are needed in many different sectors, from healthcare and banking to retail and insurance, so you can choose an industry that sparks your interest. It’s also a good starting point for any career in finance, so if your ultimate goal is to become a finance manager or CFO, you can learn the ropes as a financial analyst and move up the ladder.