You pursued a degree in finance to get into the world of money. Perhaps you knew that money begets money—and you relished the lucrative career in finance that was ahead of you. You weren’t wrong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that, as of May 2016, the median annual wage for business and financial positions was $66,530, much higher than the $37,040 for all other occupations.
But you may have pursued your degree simply because the world of finance is so intriguing. The sheer volume of money being invested around the world is dazzling, consisting of regulated and OTC markets trading in stocks, bonds, or futures, with hundreds of instruments for maneuvering profitable returns on investment, wrapped up in intricate, distribution-based fund portfolios.
Simply put, it’s both rewarding and prestigious to be a financial professional.
Career Sectors for Finance Majors At a Glance
Your career in finance can take you into any broad sector of the economy, including the following:
- The Corporate Sector—whether in commercial ventures, brokerage firms, insurance companies, or credit unions and private banks, including such prestigious banks as Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
- The Public Sector—in a vast array of positions with federal, state, or local government departments, agencies, and bureaus, including high-status careers with the U.S. Treasury.
- The independent government agency called the Federal Reserve—either at the Federal Reserve Board itself in Washington, DC, or at one of the 12 district branches throughout the United States, also offering highly sought-after careers for finance majors.
- The Think-Tank Sector—with hundreds of policy and budget analysis firms receiving federal-government contracts or grants, many of them backed by “philanthro-capitalists” who demand that their bucks have plenty of policy impact.
The BLS categorizes careers in finance into both business and financial occupations. In fact, this business-finance merger does reflect the overlap among the theoretical and applied principles that were part of your undergraduate coursework—including statistics and mathematics, budget and money management, brokering tools and investment instruments, accounting and underwriting standards, and market and economic forecasting.
For the broad sector overall, the BLS projects 9 percent growth from 2016 to 2026, with the addition of about 750,400 new jobs. Growth rates in finance alone are between 10 and 15 percent.