Approximately 329,500 financial analysts are employed in the United States. Financial analysts work in the public and private sectors. Employers include banks, brokerage and securities firms, corporations, government agencies, manufacturers, mutual and pension funds, and financial management, insurance, investment, trust, and utility companies. Approximately 41 percent of financial analysts work in finance and insurance industries. Only 4 percent of financial analysts were self-employed in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Since financial analysts often work in Wall Street companies, many employers are found in New York City. They are also concentrated in other large cities but work in smaller cities as well.
Representatives from hiring companies (e.g., banks, brokerage firms, or investment companies) may visit college campuses to meet with students interested in pursuing careers as financial analysts. College career services offices will have details on such visits. Company Web sites may also offer campus recruiting schedules.
Gaining an entry-level position can be difficult. Some companies offer in-house training, but many don't. Beginning as a research assistant might be one way to break into the business. Read member profiles at association sites to see where members have worked as financial analysts. Explore the companies that look appealing.
Make contacts and network with other financial analysts. Your local CFA Institute society or chapter will probably hold regular meetings, affording ample networking opportunities. You can become a CFA Institute member whether or not you are a CFA charterholder, but charterholders enjoy full member benefits, such as access to job postings. (Complete details, including listings for local societies and chapters, can be found at the CFA Institute Web site, https://www.cfainstitute.org.) Also, internships can be an excellent way to make contacts and gain experience in the field.
As an interview tool, the CFA Society New York suggests that you compile an investment recommendation for potential clients to give them an idea of the kind of research you're capable of and how you present your data.
You can search for job ads online. One resource is eFinancialCareers.com (http://www.efinancialcareers.com). If you know what companies you'd like to work for, visit their Web sites. Chances are you will find online job listings there.
Financial analysts who accurately prepare their employer's or client's financial statements and who offer investment advice that results in profits will likely be rewarded for their efforts. Rewards come in the form of promotions and/or bonuses. Successful financial analysts may become senior financial analysts, sometimes in only three or four years. Some become portfolio or financial managers. Rather than simply making recommendations on their company's or client's investment policies, those who advance to a senior position have more decision-making responsibility.
Some financial analysts move on to jobs as investment bankers or advisers. Others become officers in various departments in their company. Positions include chief financial officer and vice president of finance. In time, some cultivate enough contacts to be able to start their own consulting firms.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: https://www.afponline.org/careers/career-center/afp-global-career-center and http://www.efinancialcareers.com.
Join professional associations such as the Association for Financial Professionals and the CFA Institute to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Attend industry conferences to network and to interview for jobs.
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.
Participate in information interviews with financial analysts and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.