With some very well paying positions available and an increasing shortage of talented people to fill them, the finance industry is a tempting prospect for any young person currently thinking about career choices. For them and for their parents, however, it can be difficult to determine the best way forward. Finance can seem like a remote world dominated by a mysterious elite.
In fact, there are a number of routes into this field, and any bright student who is prepared to work hard has a chance of making it. This is an area where success really can stem from merit. If you want to help your children make the most of these opportunities, you’ll need to start by understanding the career options out there.
Key finance career paths
- Accounting and auditing – if you have limited means and want a finance career where you can earn as you learn, accounting and auditing offer the perfect opportunity. Big companies such as Deloitte vie with small, independent ones to snap up the best candidates every year, offering starter salaries around $22,000. Mentoring and funded courses are often available to help boost skills, and those who get to the top can earn over $150,000 annually as consultants.
- Commercial banking – companies working in this area generally have excellent graduate training programs. Starter salaries are generally over $40,000 and, although there’s less room at the very top, it is a career path that offers a lot of security and great benefits as those involved help private individuals and companies to manage their money effectively.
- Investment management – a dynamic and exciting career for which companies seek out the best and the brightest, this offers starting salaries around $26,000 but with a lot of room to grow. Those at the top, such as Mukesh Valabhji, owner of the Capital Management Group, are doing very well indeed. With intense competition for roles, newcomers should aim to get summer internships and good degrees in business, finance or economics.
- Corporate finance – all sizeable businesses need dedicated people to manage their money. Starter salaries vary a great deal, depending on company size, but this means any determined person with the right skills can get a foot in the door, and an impressive record even with a small business can make it possible to transfer to a very comfortable job with a larger one.
- Insurance – with starter opportunities in sales, customer service and actuarial work, this is a varied sector with lots of room to move sideways as newcomers find out what they like. Sales sometimes offers commission only, but it can be by far the most lucrative option for a newcomer to the finance world who has real determination and flair.
Education and training
For most finance positions it’s vital to have a good degree in business, finance, economics, accounting or mathematics, but even before their children get to this stage, parents can help by getting them involved in family financial decision making and preparing documents such as tax returns. Helping them to find a job in a bank can also be useful as even cashier experience teaches valuable skills, helping to set them on the right path for a finance career.