Finance is one of the highest-paying sectors in the US economy, and the industry draws many job seekers for precisely that reason. Financial managers, for example, are paid a median of $127,990 per year, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for financial managers is projected to rise 19 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average for other occupations. While professions in finance often require long hours and grueling days at the office during the outset, those who stick with it are rewarded with high pay and typically shorter hours as they move up the ranks in the industry. If you’re looking for a high-paying career, browse the list we’ve collated with the highest paying jobs in finance.
Which Kind of Finance Job is Right For You?
It turns out that finance isn’t just for people who were math whizzes in college. Many people working in the financial industry have backgrounds in liberal arts and humanities. Careers in the finance industry require various degrees of quantitative knowledge and experience — some people in the industry will have a Ph.D. in data science, while others may rise to equally high pay grades through their ability to connect with clients, identify trends and put in long hours. Before you begin a career in the finance industry, it’s important to know what your ultimate career goals are in the field, and whether you will need any additional education or certifications to reach those goals down the line.
Which Finance Jobs Pay The Most Money?
Glassdoor salary range: $81,000 – $183,000
Investment bankers have a wide range of responsibilities that touch many areas of the financial industry. In general, investment bankers raise money for their clients by issuing debt or selling equity in companies for their clients. They also advise clients on investment opportunities and strategies, as well as assist with mergers and acquisitions. Typically requiring long hours and a strong work ethic, aspiring investment bankers must be tenacious in their approach to the job.
Glassdoor salary range: $64,000 – $164,000
Equity analysts are typically employed by brokerages or financial firms to analyze the value of a company’s stock and make financial predictions about a company. This type of research is accomplished through numerical and qualitative analysis of financial data, public records of companies, recent news and other information sources.
Glassdoor salary range: $49,000 – $89,000
Like equity analysts, financial analysts use quantitative and qualitative methods to study the performance of investments such as stocks, bonds and commodities in order to provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Financial analysts also may advise companies on their financial strategy decisions.
Glassdoor salary range: $67,000 – $134,000
Credit risk managers develop, implement and maintain policies and protocols that help to reduce the credit risk of financial institutions. Their duties include building financial models that predict credit risk exposure as well as monitoring and reporting on credit risk to the organizations they are employed by. A highly quantitative job, becoming a credit risk manager often requires an area-specific master’s degree.
Glassdoor salary range: $113,000 – $175,000
The director of financial planning and analysis is typically in charge of creating and overseeing budgets, long-term financial plans, financial analyses and financial predictions for a financial organization or team. This role often requires an MBA or degree in accounting or finance, and sometimes it is required that employees in this role are certified as an accountant.
Glassdoor salary range: $123,000 – $210,000
Tax directors in finance oversee tax compliance, tax strategies and tax accounting for financial organizations. This is a position that typically requires a bachelor’s degree, as well as extensive experience with accounting and taxes. Usually, tax directors report to the top management of an organization.
Glassdoor salary range: $127,000 – $230,000
The vice president of analytics is in charge of the collection and analysis of data within an organization. They use this data to aid with critical functions for the company such as business development, strategy, advertising and marketing. This position typically reports to the highest management of an organization.
Glassdoor salary range: $110,000 – $315,000
To be a managing director at an investment bank or in an investment banking role is one of the highest rungs on the totem pole in the field of finance you can reach. Managing directors interface often with the bank’s most important clients. They set strategies for profit maximization and lead teams to implement the strategies.
Finance Career Paths
A career in the finance industry generally requires a bachelor’s degree. While majoring in fields like finance, business, economics and mathematics can help you score your initial gig and perform well there, the industry is also open to those who studied different subjects, from English to history, as long as you have some sort of quantitative background. Some jobs in finance require specialized licensing, such as becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Often, an MBA or related master’s degree — or even better, a Ph.D. in economics — can immediately bump up your pay prospects. While the finance industry isn’t always known for relaxing hours and stress-free work environments, it is a place whereby putting in your time as a junior employee, you can see big payoffs in terms of both salary and reduced work hours as you advance through the ranks.