The Financial Industry: Jobs, Skills and Job Outlook
Encompassing a range of professional activities related to financial operations of all kinds, the Financial sector includes service-related activities such as investment planning and management (including investments in insurance), lending, trading on financial markets, asset management and financial consultancy services, but also the area of financial controls, i.e. the part of a company or organization responsible for ensuring the sound management of its finances.
Employment opportunities in the financial services sector range from working as a bank cashier or bank clerk, right through to highly specialized roles such as financial analyst, financial trader, portfolio manager, credit risk analyst, private banker, financial promoter or investment advisor (i.e. a person whose job is to advise companies and individuals on the best financial and insurance investment opportunities).
Financial services sector employers include commercial and investment banks, asset management companies, consumer finance companies, insurance companies and payment service providers.
Other employment opportunities in the financial sector include working as a corporate finance manager or executive in the finance or treasury department of a company (e.g. as a financial controller, finance manager or Chief Financial Officer), where responsibilities include monitoring a company’s financial condition, managing its finances and assessing profitability.
A wide variety of experts and consultants work in the Finance sector, offering specialist financial consultancy services, for example in asset management, or advising on the use of software and applications for the financial industry.
A career in the Financial industry typically requires a degree in Economics, Business Management or Statistics, preferably including some kind of specialist financial qualification or training.
What types of businesses operate in the financial sector?
Businesses operating in the financial sector include commercial banks and investment banks offering asset and portfolio management services.
Other sector operators include credit card issuers, insurance companies, trading and investment companies, consumer finance companies, financial brokers, stock market traders and investment funds.
The industry also includes government organizations, such as central banks, supervisory authorities, regulators, statistical institutions and other financial institutions.
Finance graduates may also find employment at a variety of financial consultancy and advisory firms, many of which have an international presence, or alternatively within the in-house finance departments of companies, multinationals, public institutions and banking groups.
Companies hiring in the Financial sector:
Financial Industry - Trends and Job Outlook
Graduates in economics and finance can choose between a range of roles at banks or private businesses or, alternatively, can choose to work on a self-employed basis.Financial jobs are some of the best paid in the world and offer attractive career prospects.
Among the standout trends affecting the financial sector are the move towards digitalization and the growing use of financial technology (also known as fintech), including remote transaction technology, digital payment and mobile payment systems, and the use of artificial intelligence in trading.
As a result, the sector offers excellent employment opportunities for financial professionals with strong statistical and digital skills combined with an ability to work with data. Among the most in-demand professions are developers, business analysts and data scientists.
In addition to the introduction of new technology, which is helping to optimize processes and reduce costs, banks and other financial operators are also working to innovate and stay competitive by improving customer relations and providing an increasingly personalized service. Accordingly, people are set to remain a central element of the financial services market in the future, particularly in customer services roles, providing clients with support in resolving complex issues, as well as in risk management, where the algorithms used to make financial decisions require human input.
The job of a bank clerk, for example, is thus increasingly moving away from the traditional teller (or ‘cashier’) role of old towards a financial consultancy role, supporting customers with their financial needs and seeking to maximize customer satisfaction.
What skills are required in the Finance Industry?
The main skills required to work in the Financial industry include:
Financial analysis skills
The ability to analyse and monitor a company’s financial performance is essential for any financial sector professional. Key skills include interpreting financial statement data, analyzing a company’s financial position and performance, carrying out market research, developing analytical models for performance analysis and interpreting stock market trends.
Asset allocation skills (i.e. the ability to allocate resources strategically to create a successful investment portfolio) and the ability to guide one’s clients or company towards the best investment opportunities are both essential requirements in the financial sector. Effective asset managers leverage their strategic market vision and extensive understanding of the risks and rewards involved to maximize returns on assets and achieve portfolio growth.
Ability to measure and manage financial risks
Another crucial skill is the ability to use statistical analysis software and tools to calculate risk and run simulations of market scenarios. By estimating the potential profit or loss and the likelihood of them occurring, financial sector professionals are able to manage the associated financial risk and take action where necessary to reduce it to the desired levels.
Further essential qualities for all financial sector positions include familiarity with all of the main computer applications and software, strong problem-solving skills, as well as, of course, the specific knowledge needed for the role.
Finance - Job Descriptions
Interested in finding out more about jobs in the Financial sector?
Take a look at the job descriptions we’ve prepared: