Are you considering a career as a Financial Analyst? This article provides valuable insights into the role of a Financial Analyst, the salary and job outlook, and related career paths for financial professionals.

Key Insights

  • Financial Analysts play an integral role in organizations, carrying out tasks like studying market trends, examining financial statements, and creating financial models to predict future performance.
  • The median salary for Financial Analysts in 2021 was $96,000, with the profession ranked as the 13th best business job currently available.
  • The job outlook for Financial Analysts from 2021-2031 projects a 9% growth rate, which is faster than the national average. Approximately 32,000 Financial Analyst job openings are expected each year throughout this decade.
  • Financial Analysts report above-average job satisfaction, and nearly 40% feel that their job improves someone else’s life or helps make the world a better place.
  • There are various career paths related to a Financial Analyst, including Junior Financial Analyst, Senior Financial Analyst, Financial Manager, Corporate Spokesperson, Finance Instructor, Project Finance Analyst, Client Financial Analyst, Research Analyst, and Private Equity Associate.
  • Noble Desktop offers classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis, such as the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and the Financial Analyst Training Program, to equip individuals with the skills needed to become a Financial Analyst.

The answer to the question of whether financial analytics is a good career path to pursue depends on the lens you use to evaluate this profession. Some people consider it a rewarding, exciting, fast-paced career, with the opportunity to work on a range of projects and contribute to your organization in creative and meaningful ways. Others view it as a grueling, stressful profession that requires long hours. Those who thrive working with numbers, algorithms, and risk management and have the determination and dedication to succeed will likely find a job as a Financial Analyst, a rewarding career path. Many factors contribute to financial analytics being a good career option. Competitive salary rates, options for upward mobility, job satisfaction, and job prospects are just a few reasons why this profession remains a popular option. This article will look at each of these factors contributing to financial analytics being a good profession.

What is a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts study financial data and perform various research tasks to spot investment opportunities and analyze possible outcomes for business decisions. These professionals play an integral role in helping to create more informed investment strategies for their organization or its clients. To do so, Financial Analysts routinely perform tasks for their employer like studying current events and developments in the market, examining financial statements, and creating financial models that can anticipate future performance. They also may study macroeconomic trends or hone in on particular industries or sectors. Financial Analysts rely on their background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics to perform these tasks.

Because of how valued they are by organizations, Financial Analysts often find employment with large corporations like insurance companies, security firms, investment banks, venture capital firms, or government agencies. They play an integral role in supporting an organization’s budgeting initiatives, as well as writing financial status reports and recommendations. Their process often involves steps such as collecting data, organizing information, performing data analysis on these numbers, providing projections or forecasts, offering recommendations, creating Excel models, presenting their findings to organizational stakeholders, and writing reports or dashboards to convey suggestions. Depending on their professional focus, Financial Analysts do extensive research on their organization’s buy-side and sell-side financial data. They often focus on either credit markets or equity markets.

Read more about what a Financial Analyst does

Financial Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

Financial Analysts guide their organizations with financial decisions that can help them make a profit. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, the median pay in 2021 for Financial Analysts was $96,000. Financial analytics is ranked as the 13th best business job currently available. This profession has a high level of upward mobility, with incentives such as raises and career advancement for qualified individuals. 

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The job outlook for Financial Analysts from 2021-2031 projects a 9% growth rate, which is faster than the national average. Approximately 32,000 Financial Analyst job openings are expected each year throughout this decade. In part, this expansion is due to an increase in economic activity, as well as emerging industries that need Financial Analysts to help direct their growth. Globalization also contributes to this trend; as markets around the globe develop, many organizations seek Analysts to help them decide how best to expand and where to invest. This is why Financial Analysts with a background in cultural, political, or economic trends in a given geographical location are currently in-demand.

While the estimated growth in financial services is expected to lead to new job creation, the number of individuals who wish to enter this field is currently greater than the number of available jobs. Despite this projected growth in financial analytics, securing a position is still considered competitive. For this reason, pursuing a graduate degree or earning a certification can be a great way to distinguish yourself from other applicants on the job hunt.

Read more about Financial Analyst salaries and the job outlook for a Financial Analyst.

What Makes Financial Analyst a Good Career?

The following sections will explore some of the primary reasons why becoming a Financial Analyst is a good career option:

Most Financial Analysts Like Their Job

Most Americans work into their sixties, meaning it’s important to find a fulfilling and enjoyable career. Overall, Financial Analysts report being happy with their jobs. When interviewed about whether they like their career, Financial Analysts report above-average job satisfaction. Not only is financial analytics currently ranked as the 13th-best business job in the U.S., but it’s also listed as the 66th-best job overall. 

The value Financial Analysts bring to their organization plays an important part in helping clients or employers make sound investment decisions. They play an integral role in finding ways for their organization to reduce debt and grow financially. Because of the value they bring to their employer, nearly 40% of Financial Analysts feel that their job improves someone else’s life or helps make the world a better place. The finance industry is known to be a competitive work environment, one that often requires long work hours. This is why some organizations are working to change this perception. When Goldman Sachs learned in 2021 that their First-Year Analysts reported working 95 or more hours a week, they implemented a “Saturday rule” policy prohibiting junior staff from being in the office from 9 pm on Friday to 9 am on Sunday. Measures such as these ensure that those who work as Financial Analysts can maintain a work/life balance.

They Earn a Competitive Salary

Even though Financial Analysts work long hours and sometimes must handle a lot of stress in the workplace, these professionals are well-compensated for their efforts. In 2021, the average salary in the U.S. for a Financial Analyst was $96,000. Within the field of financial analytics, some professionals earn much more than this. For example, Financial Managers made an average of $132,000 in 2021. Because this estimate is just the median, many Financial Managers earn well above this number. These professionals are also expected to experience a 17% job growth over the next decade.

Not only do Financial Analysts earn high salaries, but they have other financial incentives. Generally, those working in finance have good benefits, especially those in government positions. As Financial Analysts advance in their organization, pay raises are common, as well as bonuses. A company’s success is linked directly to how Financial Analysts perform. This is why incentives like profit-sharing or bonuses typically supplement their base salary. Some bonuses can be substantial, especially for those holding more senior financial positions, and can equal much more than a year’s salary.

Financial Analysts Have Options for Upward Career Mobility

Not only do Financial Analysts make good money, but this profession offers most people opportunities for professional advancement. For those who have newly graduated from a bachelor’s program, internships at banks and financial institutions are available. In addition, entry-level Analyst positions are also an option. Once these professionals have several years of experience working as Junior Financial Analysts and learn the skills and financial language to contribute to their organization, they can explore higher-ranking positions, such as Senior Financial Analyst. With more advanced positions comes higher pay. 

Upward mobility options in finance aren’t only for Junior-Level Analysts. Senior Financial Analysts with extensive work experience and financial knowledge may also wish to advance professionally. These individuals may wish to explore positions such as CFO or Vice President of their company. 

They Have a Great Degree of Job Security

Careers in the field of finance generally provide a high level of job security. Because finance is an essential industry, the need for qualified Financial Analysts is a constant, regardless of market conditions. Even when the market takes a dip, organizations still look to Financial Analysts to help them manage their finances. These professionals are needed by both small organizations, such as nonprofits, as well as large companies, firms, and banks. Even though large institutions weed out the bottom-performing one-third of their employers yearly, those who perform well in their position can continue to advance professionally and explore higher-ranking positions with higher pay.

Financial Analytics Has a Strong Job Outlook

The job outlook for Financial Analysts over the next decade is strong. This profession is expected to grow approximately nine percent from 2021 to 2031, which is well above the national average for other occupations. Each year, around 32,000 Financial Analyst job openings are expected. These job openings are due in part to professionals reaching retirement age and leaving current roles, as well as others switching to new careers and leaving vacancies. In addition, market complexity and the increase in regulations are other contributing factors to growth in the job market for Financial Analysts, especially in large firms.

Career Paths Related to Financial Analyst

Financial Analysts play an integral role in both small and large organizations. Some choose to specialize in fields like equity, investment banking, treasury, corporate development, or financial planning and analysis. Others may pursue a career in the automotive industry, tech, or pharmacy.

The following are some of the most common professions currently available in finance, as well as a brief job description of each:

  • Junior Financial Analysts are often hired right out of college. Some are working on advanced degrees like MBAs when they’re hired. Those in this entry-level position often work on smaller and less risky accounts than the Senior Financial Analysts within an organization. 
  • Senior Financial Analysts generally have earned an MBA and Series 7 certification. These professionals manage Junior Financial Analysts and work on large accounts. They report to the CFO or Financial Manager of their organization. 
  • Financial Managers manage both Senior Financial Analysts and Junior Financial Analysts. These individuals provide feedback on suggestions and forecasts made by Financial Analysts and correspond directly with their organization’s CFO.
  • Corporate Spokesperson is a Financial Analyst employed by some organizations to represent them publicly by corresponding with the media and conducting interviews.
  • Finance Instructors provide training for new Financial Analysts and teach college-level finance classes.
  • Project Finance Analysts analyze financial reports and requirements of an organization’s project management system. This typically involves reviewing expense forecasts and project terms to devise strategies to help mitigate financial loss.
  • Client Financial Analysts help clients make sound investment choices. These professionals evaluate how well investments like bonds and stocks are performing so they can offer the best options for individuals or businesses.
  • Research Analysts are involved with creating investigative reports on assets or securities, which are used either in-house or by clients.
  • Private Equity Associates oversee deal processes from conception to completion. They work closely with private equity firms’ data to spot possible opportunities for investment and reach out to investors to raise capital.

Read more about the other career paths related to Financial Analyst careers.

Learn the Skills to Become a Financial Analyst at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in New York City, offers a range of classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis. Financial Modeling Bootcamp is a hands-on, 18-hour course that teaches students fundamental financial concepts, such as corporate valuation, accounting, and finance. Participants in this small class create their own discounted cash flow using Microsoft Excel. Over three days, expert instructors also help students develop a comprehensive financial model for an actual company. As a prerequisite to this bootcamp, students should have intermediate Excel proficiency.

Noble also has a Financial Analyst Training Program that provides expert instruction on timely corporate and financial concepts, such as making a full valuation model. Those enrolled in this intensive program receive instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as using shortcuts and PivotTables. Advanced Excel techniques are also covered in this 30-hour program, like Goal Seek and cash flow projection tools. All learners also receive instruction on creating a three-statement financial model for a public restaurant company.

In addition to the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, Noble Desktop also has in-person and live online financial modeling training courses. The

Excel Bootcamp offers 18 hours of instruction on core business Excel skills like working with VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and What-If Analysis for Goal Seek. FinTech courses are also available, like Algorithmic Trading with Python, Python for Data Science Bootcamp, and FinTech Bootcamp. This course provides students with hands-on training from expert instructors in FinTech skills like working with Python and SQL for data analysis, creating machine learning models, and working with different data types like integers, floats, and strings. All students have the option of a free course retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

Key Takeaways

    • If you’re considering a career as a Financial Analyst, most of these professionals report enjoying their work. Although careers in finance are known to require long hours and be stressful to a certain degree, incentives such as high pay, bonuses, job security, and opportunities for career advancement are just a few reasons why Financial Analysts like this field of work.
    • The financial analytics field offers various job titles, including Junior Financial Analyst, Financial Manager, Research Analyst, and Private Equity Associate.
  • One of the main incentives to pursue a career in finance is the high pay options. The average pay for Financial Analysts in 2021 in the U.S. was $96,000.
  • You can receive comprehensive training to become a Financial Analyst through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop.