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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

8 Fastest Growing Financial Services Jobs

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The financial services industry has been roiled since the 2008 market crash and the bursting of the housing bubble. All is not bleak, however, for those who want to work in the sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics looks at various occupations, and in the financial arena there’s reason to optimistic.

The BLS said on its website that the analysis underlying these projections “uses currently available information to focus on long-term structural changes in the economy. The December 2007–June 2009 recession had a large impact on U.S. employment, with some industries more affected than others. In many industries, employment had not recovered to prerecessionary levels by 2010. This fact, coupled with the assumed return to full employment, caused the projections to assume faster growth rates and more numerous openings than might have been expected in many industries and their occupations had the recession not occurred.”

Of the eight jobs the BLS groups together here, all are expected to see growth in the number of people employed from 2010 to 2020. The economy as a whole is expected to see job growth of 14% in that time frame.

Not all of the categories will see torrid growth. Hiring of insurance underwriters, for instance, will not keep pace with the general economy, though in financial services it’s still a winner. And the BLS notes that competition for jobs will be tough, with more applicants than openings. On the other hand, four categories—including financial advisors—are projected to see increases above the job market as a whole.

Check out 10 Best Cities for Jobs in Financial Services and Top 7 Cities for Financial Job Seekers to find out where to go presently to find a financial services job.

Here then are the eight fast-growing financial services jobs grouped by the BLS and ranked from slowest projected job growth to fastest:

Ship washed ashore after tsunami in Japan. (Photo: AP)

8. Insurance Underwriters

Employment change 2010-20: 6%

Number of jobs in 2010: 101,800

2010 Annual Median Pay: $59,290

Education: Bachelor’s degree

With natural disasters increasing steadily each year and an aging population that will drive growth in areas like health care and long-term care, companies will require employees to deal with the increased workload.

7. Financial Managers

Employment change 2010-20: 9%

Number of jobs in 2010: 527,100

2010 Annual Median Pay: $103,910

Education: Bachelor’s degree

The growth rate in these jobs will be primarily of the self-employment type, which will see an uptick of 20%. In-house hiring by companies will also rise, but by only 3%.

6. Budget Analysts

Employment change 2010-20: 10%

Number of jobs in 2010: 62,100

2010 Annual Median Pay: $68,200

Education: Bachelor’s degree

The expected growth in this job sector is linked to the growing complexity of the task. Budget analysts also wield much power in private companies and governmental agencies. In the end, executives and elected officials rely on these employees’ analysis to make critical decisions.

5. Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Employment change 2010-20: 11%

Number of jobs in 2010: 466,100 (367,500 sales agents)

2010 Annual Median Pay: $42,680

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

The bursting of the housing bubble threw the real estate industry into a downward spiral, but according to the BLS there will be plenty of new jobs available for brokers and agents. The prospects for a good income will depend on economic conditions, of course. To get started, you’ll need a license issued by the state in which you want to work. Usually, this is granted following the taking of some courses and the passing of a test.

Traders on the floor of the NYSE. (Photo: AP)

4. Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents

Employment change 2010-20: 15%

Number of jobs in 2010: 312,200

2010 Annual Median Pay: $70,190

Education: Bachelor’s degree

There’s been consolidation in the industry, but job creation is still expected to keep pace with the overall market. Although a bachelor’s degree is required, that is just the bare minimum. There are plenty of applicants, so those with a graduate degree and certification have an edge for all but entry-level positions.

Woman with family in nursing home. (Photo: AP)

3. Insurance Sales Agents

Employment change 2010-20: 22%

Number of jobs in 2010: 411,500

2010 Annual Median Pay: $46,770

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Insurance agents might be the butt of too many jokes, but over the decade to 2020 there were will be plenty of opportunity for job seekers in the industry. As with underwriters, agents that sell health care products will likely be the most in demand.

2. Financial Analysts

Employment change 2010-20: 23%

Number of jobs in 2010: 236,000

2010 Annual Median Pay: $74,350

Education: Bachelor’s degree

The growth of complex financial investments and more complicated portfolios, along with the need for analysts who have in-depth knowledge of geographic regions, are the reasons behind the strong forecast in this area. Despite the growth, the BLS notes that competition for the jobs will be stiff.

Advisor with clients

1. Personal Financial Advisors

Employment change 2010-20: 32%

Number of jobs in 2010: 206,800

2010 Annual Median Pay: $64,750

Education: Bachelor’s degree

Among all the jobs the BLS groups together in this category, the percentage growth in financial advisory jobs is far the greatest. Driving that job growth are aging baby boomers seeking advice as they navigate retirement. Also, the decline in pension funds will compel younger workers to contact personal advisors.


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