Though the finance industry’s reputation has taken a beating in the news since the 2008 downturn, some experts forecast a rosy future for the sector—especially through the end of the decade. Chief among them is the Washington, DC-based US News Weekly (USN). According to USN, which has gained considerable recognition for its authoritative rankings since the mid-1980s, financial advisors hold down the second-best business job in America this year. Market research analysts won the top spot.
About The Rankings
USN’s survey evaluates jobs across a broad spectrum of categories—including health care, construction, social services, technology, and business. Once the categories are set, jobs within each sector are ranked using seven key criteria: 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, job prospects, employment rate, stress level, and work-life balance. Criteria are weighted, and when all is said and done, each job is assigned an overall score between 1 and 10. (Financial advisors scored a 6.7 and ranked 32nd overall on the Best Jobs list.)
Financial Advisors: More Money, Lower Unemployment
Two of the factors which helped financial advisors rise to the top of the business category were wages and employment. With a 2011 median salary of $66,580—and those in the 90th-percentile making upwards of $185K per annum—financial advisors are among the most handsomely paid professionals in business. More than that, the unemployment rate for financial advisors is just 2.4 percent—which is about five percentage points below the national average for 2013. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ forecasts 32 percent job growth among advisors for the decade ending 2020.
Financial Advising: A “Client-Centric” Business for the Well-Rounded Professional
The USN article concluded its treatment with a discussion of the skills that would be most helpful to those seeking a future in the field. According to USN, hopefuls should begin by earning a bachelor’s degree (though a master’s would be more likely help candidates to gain an edge in a competitive marketplace). Earning the certified financial planner certification and obtaining relevant securities licenses—along with active participation in a leading industry group like the Financial Planning Association—was also recommended. Beyond the development of those “hard” qualifications, USN pointed out the fact that soft skills like listening and empathizing were critical. Why? Mostly because financial advising is a client-centric business which requires practitioners to counsel folks around many important personal issues like marriage, college, divorce, and death.
The Bottom Line
Despite the trials of the last five years, the USN’s latest jobs list provides proof positive that the finance industry’s future is bright . Of course, that’s no surprise to us. We know that good financial professionals function a lot like the market that they work. While dips and dives are sure to occur over the short-term, over the long haul, our fortunes will always rise.