A career in banking is a respectable profession that offers good working conditions, liberal benefits, and many advancement opportunities. The average workweek for many bankers is 36 to 38 hours per week, with many jobs occupied by part-time workers. Call center representatives can enjoy flexible evening and weekend hours. Job roles are varied, with some careers directly involved with the public, such as bank teller, loan officer, and investment manager, and some positions behind the scenes that involve accountants and business and investment analysts. Nowadays, some functions, such as human resources, training, and computer services, may be managed remotely in home-based locations.
The banking industry offers many challenging careers with varied educational requirements and pay scales. For instance, a mortgage processor position may pay $16,000 a year and only require a high school degree. A position for an investment analyst for a top financial firm may require an MBA in finance with a starting pay of $90,000. A banker’s salary varies by job role as well as geographic location and experience. Although banks are located everywhere across the country, there are some regions that have a more significant presence. Areas such as Wall Street, New York, Illinois, California, North Carolina, and Texas are headquarters to many of the larger global banks.
Banks generally fall into three categories: commercial, savings and loan, or credit union. Banker salaries and career opportunities are usually greater in commercial bank settings. In addition, many banks offer other forms of compensation, such as equity sharing, bonuses, performance-based pay, and commissions on sales. While most banks are not unionized, employment in the industry is usually secure with little turnover.
Let’s take a look at some common jobs in the banking industry to see what this profession has to offer according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 edition:
- The role of a financial analyst is to help people make sound investment decisions by researching the performance of financial instruments. The role of a financial analyst is synonymous with a security analyst or investment analyst or even portfolio manager, with most positions located in larger financial institutions. A financial analyst must have good math and research skills, problem solving abilities, attention to detail, and comfort with technology. Most times, people in this position may work long hours, work under pressure, and travel to client sites. Most positions require a master’s of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance. Additional licensures, such as the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and continued education classes are required of some roles. The average salary for a financial analyst is between $54,000 ad $99,000, with most earning $70,000. Top earners can make up to $140,000 per year with bonuses contributing to a significant portion of the salary. Future job prospects are promising, with most jobs being offered to the most talented, educated, and experienced in the industry.
- Accountants and auditors are other common job roles in the banking profession. Most jobs require degrees in a related field, with advancement opportunities being offered to the more educated and qualified, like Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs). With all the pressure in the industry to regulate, employment opportunities in the field are expected to grow. The role of the accountant or auditor is to help analyze a company’s finances in an effort to make sure all records are accurate. Employment opportunities are found in the private sector and all levels of government. Many accountants and auditors decide to specialize in areas of reporting, such as tax law or forensic accounting. Forensic accounting is a new field and involves the prevention of crimes, such as money laundering, embezzlement, and securities fraud. The work environment for most people is in an office setting, although some financial institutions allow people in these positions to work from home. Many auditors travel frequently. The outlook for these professions is favorable and the field is expected to grow faster than other professions. Average earnings are between $45,000 and $78,000, with top earners making over $100,000. The highest salaries are found in private consulting and investment firms. Other jobs roles, with similar education and experience requirements, to consider are tax examiners, collectors, revenue agents, and budget analysts.