Bet your career on finance: Finance Industry update, 2014
Job growth in financial services is expected to outpace job growth for all occupations in 2014. This is good news for job seekers in the sector, whose skills will be in-demand across a range of businesses and occupations.
The finance industry is multifaceted, offering a variety of positions catering to a number of different skills and interests. The key to success in the financial services is to research, locate and land the niche opportunity that has the greatest compatibility with your skills and interests.
There are finance industry jobs available in almost every city around the world. The largest concentration of jobs is commonly found at international financial centres – New York, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai and Zürich.
As businesses continue to regrow and establish more savvy ways to operate, they require smart financial minds to bring their business back. From financial analysts to accountants to credit counsellors, there are a variety of ways that finances need to be monitored and moved, and workers are needed to fill these roles.
Three out of every five CFOs said it is challenging for their company to find skilled candidates for professional-level positions today. The talent shortage in many accounting and finance occupations has led to intensified competition for professionals with in-demand skills. It’s not uncommon for top performers in high-demand specialties to receive multiple employment offers and significant boost in salaries when they change jobs.
However, even if you have a degree from a prestigious university, competition for finance jobs can be fierce. Financial jobs are highly specialised, and different financial jobs require different skills and present vastly different work environments. It is wise to select a role that aligns with your long-term interests and abilities.
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Specialised in investments, money management firms handle a wide variety of assets – small-cap stocks, high-yield bonds, or a particular market niche for individuals and institutions. Hedge funds take more risk and focus on providing higher returns. Private equity firms usually buy entire corporations, profiting by improving the operations of a company and reselling them. Similarly, real estate firms develop new real estate projects or purchase projects to better manage them and increase their returns.
Roles in financial institutions:
- Portfolio manager
- Financial specialist
- Financial analyst
- Deal manager
- Security analyst
- Regulatory compliance officer
- Quantitative analyst
- Marketing manager
Most insurance jobs are with large insurance companies. You work with clients or as an actuary computing risks and premium rates according to probabilities based on historical, quantitative data.
The lines between investment banks and commercial banks have increasingly blurred over the years. Investment banks provide strategic advice to corporations, and financing to companies, governments and other large institutions against buying and selling stocks, bonds and other securities. On the other hand, commercial banks receive deposits from individuals and grant loans to corporations, individuals and governments. Large banks also participate in investment banking ventures such as raising capital and trading.
Roles in banks:
- Loan officer
- Bank teller
- Investment banker
- Security salesperson
An increasingly popular niche in banking is alternative asset management companies such as private equity firms or venture capital firms. Some large companies also maintain an in-house staff to evaluate strategic opportunities and corporate mergers. If banking, hedge funds, or management consulting are not compelling options for you, there are some non-traditional jobs available for your finance and business skills sets.
Even in finance, business development skills will be vital in your career as you rise up to executive ranks. Responsibilities involve soft skills like interpersonal communication and team work. The role requires you to understand the company’s products and service offerings, and regulate them to customers’ preferences and sensibilities.
A small company may offer a unique technology product or niche service offering that is deficient in the market. As a finance entrepreneur or working in a small start-up, you can enjoy a variety of different roles such as accounting and marketing, and execute strategic decisions. You will be in a better position for leadership opportunities, as opposed to a structured, narrowly-defined job in a large corporation.
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Geographies in focus
The world’s top financial centres:
The economy of Singapore is considered to be one of the highly developed market economies in the world that is suitable for trading. Offering the least corrupt, business-friendly environment and high per capita income, Singapore’s low interest rates attract foreign direct investments. It will take over as the world’s top centre for managing international funds by 2015.
Healthy economic growth and an upbeat corporate sector will create good prospects for banks in the UAE in 2014, according to a report by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. Real estate prices are growing, especially in Dubai, and banks’ credit losses are decreasing. Thanks to various regulations adopted by the central bank, asset quality will continue to improve along with a decline in non-performing loan ratios. This comes at a time when the UAE economy is picking up speed in almost all sectors, thus triggering further growth in banking and finance.
According to a Bayt.com Job Index survey conducted in August 2013, banking and finance is considered the most attractive industry in the UAE to work in, followed by construction, and oil, gas and petrochemicals.
The finance sector has created among the maximum number of jobs in the recent past. The average salary here is around US $37000 and the top job profiles in demand are in financial management/ control, accounting, accounts payable/ receivable, tax & treasury, and business/ financial analysis.
One of the most stable economies in the world, investors love to establish their businesses in Switzerland. The country’s long-term monetary security policy and political stability is further enhanced by high labour capitalisation.
With about 100 UK and European companies headquartered in central London, it is one of the major financial centres for many international businesses. There are many financial institutions in London along with many foreign banks.
The number of qualified financial professionals however has fallen from 94,000 in 2008 to 76,000, leading to skills shortage in a key sector for the UK economy. Even as the labor market in financial services is tightening, 78% of UK CFOs say it’s challenging to find top finance talent.
New vacancies in London have jumped by 25% in February 2014. Most of these new roles are in relation to IPOs at brokerage houses and smaller banks.
Hong Kong is the first Asian city to top an annual survey of global financial development, overtaking the dominant financial hubs – New York and London. With an economic growth of 2.8% in 2013, Hong Kong is highly dependent on international trade and investing. A well-established financial market for international investors, it is a major centre for management sector, financial, and business consultation services.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects a 9% increase in jobs for finance managers from 2010 to 2020. These jobs are highly dependent on the nation’s economy, so you may find many more available jobs as the economy prospers.
At an average salary of US $69,500, according to the NACE Salary Survey, finance majors in the U.S. earn the highest salaries among business majors. Financial managers working for securities and commodities exchanges earn average salaries of US $171,380.
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Many jobs in the finance industry require employees to work extremely long hours. But, the compensation packages are equally prodigious. Are you ready to move towards the career of your dreams?
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