Career, Salary and Education Information
What They Do: Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions.
Work Environment: Financial analysts work in offices. Most work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to Become One: Financial analysts typically must have a bachelor’s degree.
Salary: The median annual wage for financial analysts is $81,410.
Job Outlook: Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of financial analysts with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as a financial analyst with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Top 3 Financial Analyst Jobs
Senior Financial Analyst
- Sabel Systems
- Chevy Chase, MD
The Senior Financial Analyst shall support with analyzing and validating a variety of accounting, budget and financial system data that are designed to track, reconcile and report on Agency ...
Renewables Project Financial Analyst - REMOTE
- TBC Power & Renewables
- San Francisco, CA
Renewables Financial Analyst , Project Finance Locations: FULLY REMOTE (Anywhere in the USA) This an opportunity to join an industry leading renewable energy venture with strong private equity backing ...
Financial Analyst III
- Kratos Defense
- Roseville, CA
The Financial Analyst supports Program Management in coordinating and managing financial planning and control activities in accordance with the Company's Earned Value Management System (EVMS) and ...
What Financial Analysts Do[About this section] [To Top]
Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.
Duties of Financial Analysts
Financial analysts typically do the following:
- Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, which are known as portfolios
- Evaluate current and historical financial data
- Study economic and business trends
- Examine a company's financial statements to determine its value
- Meet with company officials to gain better insight into the company's prospects
- Assess the strength of the management team
- Prepare written reports
Financial analysts evaluate investment opportunities. They work in banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other businesses. Financial analysts are also called securities analysts and investment analysts.
Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.
- Buy-side analysts develop investment strategies for companies that have a lot of money to invest. These companies, called institutional investors, include hedge funds, insurance companies, independent money managers, and nonprofit organizations with large endowments, such as some universities.
- Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.
Some analysts work for the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.
Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific industry, geographical region, or type of product. For example, an analyst may focus on a subject area such as the energy industry, a world region such as Eastern Europe, or the foreign exchange market. They must understand how new regulations, policies, political situations, and economic trends may affect investments.
Investing is becoming more global, and some financial analysts specialize in a particular country or region. Companies want those financial analysts to understand the language, culture, business environment, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.
The following are examples of types of financial analysts:
Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company's investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.
Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.
Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. On the basis of their evaluation, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.
Risk analysts evaluate the risk in investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. This job is carried out by making investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio.
Work Environment for Financial Analysts[About this section] [To Top]
Financial analysts hold about 492,100 jobs. The largest employers of financial analysts are as follows:
|Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities||18%|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||14%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||11%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||11%|
|Insurance carriers and related activities||7%|
Financial analysts work primarily in offices but travel frequently to visit companies or clients.
Many financial analysts work at large financial institutions based in New York City or other major financial centers.
Financial Analyst Work Schedules
Most financial analysts work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to Become a Financial Analyst[About this section] [To Top]
Get the education you need: Find schools for Financial Analysts near you!
Financial analysts typically must have a bachelor's degree.
Education for Financial Analysts
Most positions require a bachelor's degree. A number of fields of study provide appropriate preparation, including accounting, economics, finance, statistics, and mathematics.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Financial Analysts
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. A license is generally required to sell financial products, which may apply to some financial analyst positions. Because most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.
Employers often recommend certification, which can improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor's degree, 4 years of qualified work experience, and pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field of specialty.
Advancement for Financial Analysts
Financial analysts typically start by specializing in a specific investment field. As they gain experience, they can become portfolio managers and select the mix of investments for a company's portfolio. They can also become fund managers and manage large investment portfolios for individual investors. A master's degree in finance or business administration can improve an analyst's chances of advancing to one of these positions.
Important Qualities for Financial Analysts
Analytical skills. Financial analysts must process a range of information in finding profitable investments.
Communication skills. Financial analysts must explain their recommendations to clients in clear language that clients can easily understand.
Computer skills. Financial analysts must be adept at using software packages to analyze financial data, see trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.
Decisionmaking skills. Financial analysts must provide a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell a security.
Detail oriented. Financial analysts must pay attention to details when reviewing possible investments, as small issues may have large implications for the health of an investment.
Math skills. Financial analysts use mathematical skills when estimating the value of financial securities.
Financial Analyst Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]
The median annual wage for financial analysts is $81,410. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,740, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $163,640.
The median annual wages for financial analysts in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities||$100,790|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$92,180|
|Management of companies and enterprises||$88,960|
|Insurance carriers and related activities||$79,890|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||$79,080|
Fund managers are typically compensated by fees, usually structured as a percentage of assets under management and a percentage of the fund's annual return.
Most financial analysts work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.
Job Outlook for Financial Analysts[About this section] [To Top]
Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
About 41,000 openings for financial analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
See all finance jobs.
Employment of Financial Analysts
A growing range of financial products and the need for in-depth knowledge of geographic regions are expected to lead to employment growth.
Demand for financial analysts generally increases with overall economic activity. These workers will be needed to evaluate investment opportunities when new businesses are established or as existing businesses expand. In addition, emerging markets throughout the world are providing new investment opportunities, requiring expertise in geographic regions where those markets are located.
Demand also is projected to increase as big data and technological improvements allow financial analysts to conduct high-quality analysis. This analysis will help businesses manage their finances, identify investment trends, and deliver new products or services to clients.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2020||Projected Employment, 2030||Change, 2020-30|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.