Financial Analysts

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit.

Work Environment: Financial analysts work in offices. Most work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become One: Financial analysts typically must have a bachelor’s degree.

Salary: The median annual wage for financial analysts is $81,410.

Job Outlook: Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of financial analysts with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a financial analyst with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Financial Analyst Jobs

  • Financial Analyst - Grant Thornton - Dublin, County Dublin

    The individual will be part of a small close knit team who have been hugely successful in transforming the Grant Thornton finance function.

  • Grade VI Financial Analyst - Health Service Executive - Cavan, County Cavan

    Post Specific Related Information: To ensure the highest standards of financial processing, business intelligence, reporting and support for compliance with…

  • Grade VII - Financial Analyst - Health Service Executive - Dublin, County Dublin

    John’s Road West, Dublin 8, D08 X01F A panel may be formed as a result of this campaign for Grade VII - Financial Analyst, Planning and Performance within the…

See all Financial Analyst jobs

What Financial Analysts Do[About this section] [To Top]

Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Duties of Financial Analysts

Financial analysts typically do the following:

  • Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, known as portfolios
  • Evaluate current and historical financial data
  • Study economic and business trends
  • Examine a company's financial statements to determine its value
  • Meet with company officials to gain better insight into the company's prospects
  • Assess the strength of the management team
  • Prepare written reports

Financial analysts evaluate opportunities to commit money for the purpose of generating profit.

Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.

  • Buy-side analysts develop investment strategies for companies that have a lot of money to invest. These companies, called institutional investors, include hedge funds, insurance companies, independent money managers, nonprofit organizations with large endowments, private equity firms, and pension funds.
  • Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Analysts may work for the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.

Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific geographical region, industry, or type of product. For example, they may focus on a subject area or a foreign exchange market. They must understand how economic trends, new regulations, policies, and political situations may affect investments.

Investing has become more global, and some specialize in a particular country or world region. Companies want these specialists to understand the business environment, culture, language, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.

The following are examples of types of financial analysts:

Financial risk specialists, also called financial risk analysts, evaluate threats to investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. They make investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio. They also make recommendations to limit risk.

Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund managers and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.

Investment analysts assess information involving investment programs or financial data of institutions, such as business valuation. They also respond to queries from clients and client advisors regarding asset allocation and alternative investment topics including hedge funds, real property, and venture capital.

Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company's investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.

Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. Based on these evaluations, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.

Securities analysts evaluate securities markets and trends to identify high-yield assets for clients and companies. They may use resources such as bond performance reports, daily stock quotes, market and economic forecasts, and other financial statements and publications.

Work Environment for Financial Analysts[About this section] [To Top]

Financial and investment analysts hold about 317,300 jobs. The largest employers of financial and investment analysts are as follows:

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 24%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 12%
Credit intermediation and related activities 11%
Management of companies and enterprises 11%
Insurance carriers and related activities 7%

Financial risk specialists hold about 317,300 jobs. The largest employers of financial risk specialists are as follows:

Credit intermediation and related activities 30%
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 17%
Management of companies and enterprises 14%
Insurance carriers and related activities 14%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 10%

Financial analysts work primarily in offices but travel frequently to visit companies or clients.

Financial Analyst Work Schedules

Most financial analysts work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Financial Analyst[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Financial Analysts near you!

Financial analysts typically must have a bachelor's degree.

Education for Financial Analysts

Most entry-level positions for financial analysts require a bachelor’s degree; a common field of degree is business. Some employers prefer to hire job candidates who have a master’s degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Financial Analysts

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. A license is generally required to sell financial products, which may apply to some positions. Because most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.

Employers often recommend certification, which may improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience and pass multiple exams. They also may choose to become certified in their field of specialty.

Advancement for Financial Analysts

Financial analysts typically start by specializing in an investment field. As they gain experience, they may become portfolio managers and select the mix of investments for a company’s portfolio. They also may become fund managers of large investment portfolios for individual investors. Having a master’s degree in finance or business administration may improve an analyst’s chances of advancing to one of these positions.

Important Qualities for Financial Analysts

Analytical skills. Financial analysts must evaluate a range of information in finding profitable investments.

Communication skills. Financial analysts must be able to clearly explain their recommendations to clients.

Computer skills. Financial analysts must be adept at using software to analyze financial data and trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.

Decision-making skills. Financial analysts must reach conclusions so that they can recommend whether to buy, hold, or sell a security.

Detail oriented. Financial analysts must pay attention when reviewing a possible investment, as even small issues may have large implications for its health.

Math skills. Financial analysts use mathematics to estimate the value of financial securities.

Financial Analyst Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

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Entry Level Experienced

The median annual wage for financial and investment analysts is $91,580. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,900, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $166,560.

The median annual wage for financial risk specialists is $100,000. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $59,370, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $171,000

The median annual wages for financial and investment analysts in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities $100,800
Professional, scientific, and technical services $96,600
Management of companies and enterprises $83,990
Insurance carriers and related activities $81,150
Credit intermediation and related activities $79,910

The median annual wages for financial risk specialists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities $127,110
Management of companies and enterprises $102,750
Credit intermediation and related activities $98,320
Professional, scientific, and technical services $98,250
Insurance carriers and related activities $91,770

Fund managers are typically compensated by fees, usually structured as a percentage of assets under management and a percentage of the fund's annual return.

Most financial analysts work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Financial Analysts[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 32,000 openings for financial analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

See all finance jobs.

Employment of Financial Analysts

Demand for financial analysts generally increases with overall economic activity. These workers will be needed to evaluate investment opportunities when new businesses are established or as existing businesses expand. In addition, emerging markets throughout the world are providing new investment opportunities, requiring expertise in geographic regions where those markets are located.

Demand also is projected to increase as big data and technological improvements allow financial analysts to conduct high-quality analysis. This analysis will help businesses manage their finances, identify investment trends, and deliver new products or services to clients.

Employment projections data for Financial Analysts, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Financial analysts 373,800 405,700 9 31,900
Financial and investment analysts 317,300 344,600 9 27,300
Financial risk specialists 56,500 61,100 8 4,600


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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