Even if you’ve never worked in the industry, you might have a general idea of what a finance career looks like. Most people imagine people in suits, screaming numbers at the New York Stock Exchange. While that’s one career area, there are many others to explore, both inside and outside of investing. Before deciding which financial career to pursue, it makes sense to explore some of the alternatives.
If you have a financial (or related) degree, consider the classes you enjoyed most and what aspects caused a few premature grey hairs to appear. The truth is that finance careers attract a lot of talent. And to stand out from the crowd of applicants, you’ll have to pick an option that plays to your strengths and interests. Online job aggregator Adzuna rounded up 7 of the widest-known financial job titles to help you understand your options and explore the possibilities!
Top Finance Career Options
Average Salary: R445,821 per year
Accountants interpret, examine, and maintain financial records to prepare financial and tax statements. They also find ways to reduce costs and increase profits by advising on business decisions. Although most entry-level auditors aim to land roles with big accounting firms, that’s not the end-all and be-all. All industries need accountants. Accountants can work for government, universities, and businesses across all fields.
Auditors have a keen eye for detail and excellent problem-solving and analytical skills. They need a deep understanding of general accounting principles, practices, and laws, which they obtain through an accounting or related degree.
#2 Credit Analyst
Average Salary: R542,308 per year
Credit analysts, as the name implies, analyse credit and financial data of companies and individuals to determine their risk factors for extending credit or loans. These professionals complete loan applications and analyse other financial data like income growth to determine a loan’s profitability. Although credit analysts primarily work for banks, they can also be employed by mortgage, investment, and insurance firms.
If you have strong decision-making and critical thinking skills along with an analytical mind, this might be the right finance career for you. You’ll also need to be great at researching and have strong communication skills to back up your bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or any other related field to land your dream job.
#3 Personal Financial Planner
Average Salary: R309,603 per year
Personal financial planners help individuals set up and work toward their financial goals. This includes educating them on investments, managing their portfolios and monitoring their finances. These professionals can work for banks and investment firms, and they can also be self-employed.
Unlike financial advisors, financial planners form long-term working relationships with their clients. This means they need strong intrapersonal skills and have to be certified as professional financial planners. Along with investment knowledge and analytical skills, financial planners also need an entrepreneurial mindset to build and expand their client database.
#4 Risk Specialist
Average Salary: R680,000 per year
Working for investment banks, mortgage, insurance companies, and corporate lenders, risk specialists use quantitative and qualitative approaches to analyse risks. These risks are related to existing and prospective investments, earning capacities, and the success of companies.
These professionals must have the ability to spot problems before they arise. They also need inductive, deductive, and mathematical reasoning skills. In most cases, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in economics, math, or finance to get your foot in the door of this industry.
#5 Quantitative Analyst
Average Salary: R572,667 per year
Quants develop financial products that financial firms rely on to price, trade, and calculate risk for any tradable financial assets. Quantitative analysts can work for a variety of employers, including investment banks, depository banks, fintech companies, and trading firms.
It goes without saying that quants need high-level math and reasoning skills. This work field is abstract and requires these professionals to spend more time behind their computer screens instead of interacting with colleagues. Entry requirements include a master’s degree in a quantitative field like finance, math, stats, or economics.
Average Salary: R717,408 per year
Ever wondered who is in charge of evaluating probabilities and risks associated with car accidents and property damage? Actuaries! They use math and statistics to calculate costs related to events like these that form the building blocks of models like insurance policies. Although actuaries generally work for insurance companies, they can also work for investment firms and banks.
This field of work is predicted to grow 18% by 2029. With relatively low-stress levels (compared to most other finance career options) and high average wages, becoming an actuary can help you build the perfect work-life balance. But to get in, you’ll need strong math and reasoning skills along with a degree in actuarial sciences, finance, accounting, or a related field.
#7 Investment Banker
Average Salary: R573,257 per year
Investment bankers primarily deal with raising money for companies and governments through public offering, stocks, bonds, mergers, and venture capitalism. Average salaries might be high, but so is the level of stress associated with these roles.
To land a job as an investment banker, you’ll need a finance or economics degree or another quantitative or business-focused degree. You will also need a master’s degree in finance and an internship. The good news is that if you have all of these qualifications, you could be earning MUCH more than the average salary. Investment bankers can earn salaries upward of R2 million per year if bonuses are included in the picture.
Making the Right Choice
To pursue jobs with the highest probability of success, you have to consider the role’s demand. Time spent uncovering the most exciting opportunities can be time saved working a job that just doesn’t fit. Different finance careers require different skills and come with vastly different working environments. Pick one that aligns with your interests and abilities.
Every company in almost every industry needs the help of a finance professional. You can find a financial job by tapping into your professional network, leveraging the power of social platforms like LinkedIn, or start browsing the listings on Adzuna right now! Your dream job might already be out there, just waiting for you to find it!