If you work in the investment banking sector, or you have your sights set on job there, you couldn’t possibly ignore the ominous, dark clouds that set over the industry in the last couple of years. But, despite the waves of layoffs and an overall retrenchment in the industry, U.S. News and World Report has identified the Financial Analyst position as one of the 10 best jobs of 2012.
Granted, the position is not exclusive to investment banking as the need for qualified financial analysts is exploding among other financial companies such as insurance companies, mutual funds, pension funds and securities firms; however, investment banking is expected to contribute significantly to the mushrooming job opportunities over the next ten years.
Labor experts are forecasting a nearly 25 percent increase in the number of financial analyst positions by the end of this decade. While that could mean as many as 55,000 positions to be filled, there is expected to be heavy competition for new openings. In an industry that has experienced a lot of volatility in the last few years, the financial analyst position is coveted for its relative stability and solid pay. The median earnings in 2010 were just under $75,000 with the higher paid positions pulling in just over $140,000 – not exactly in the iBanking stratosphere.
The position is still a big draw for college graduates, this despite some of the more recent bad press and the growing disenchantment with Wall Street. Graduates with degrees in finance, statistics and accounting, place the financial analyst position in the top three of their targets for a career pursuit. The heavy competition for these positions places a premium on those who earn an MBA or achieve advanced certification, such as a chartered financial analyst. Opportunities still exist for advancement into positions with greater responsibilities and higher pay and a path to portfolio management.
The financial services landscape is changing rapidly, and direct paths into investment banking positions are harder to find. Most recruiting specialists recommend that the pursuit of a financial analyst position begin with obtaining some real-world experience, either as an intern, or working in a related field to gain practical experience.
In either case, the quickest path into the investment banking field is through networking and relationship building, so it is important to work at raising your visibility, while rounding out your skill sets.
Effective communication is said to be a highly desirable skill for a position that must be able to translate numbers and statistics into something that people can understand.