Financial analysts
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Overview
Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for financial analysts are expected to grow by 11%, and should have about 29,200 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Financial analysts are less likely to be automated than 69% of other careers.
Workforce size
Financial analysts, with 296,100 workers, form a larger workforce than 85% of careers.
Education
About 89% of financial analysts have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by financial analysts
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More financial analysts have bachelor's degrees than 92% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for financial analysts is higher than 87% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most financial analysts.
This job's median $86KAll jobs' median $39K$84K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 39% of financial analysts -- that's a larger percentage than 53% of other jobs.
Gender of financial analysts
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For financial analysts, the median men's salary was 11% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 25% of financial analysts are minority, and 19% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of financial analysts
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (19%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Financial Analysts per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 59% of financial analysts, and 77% have company-sponsored health insurance (16% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for financial analysts
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 87% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of financial analysts who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (76%)
  • Consequence of Error (44%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do financial analysts earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for financial analysts, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for financial analysts compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for financial analysts (BLS Salary Data)
$86K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$86K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all financial analysts, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for financial analysts compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for financial analysts (ACS Salary Data)
$76K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$76K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where financial analysts work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Financial analysts (ACS)
Private for-profit (81.7%)
Private not-for-profit (5.6%)
Local government (1.8%)
State government (3.1%)
Federal government (4.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.9%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.6%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of financial analysts by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$76K$77K$64K$60K$82K$74K$70K$103K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000$250,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of financial analysts by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$86K$96K$70K$87K$67K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for financial analysts

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$67K$83K$84K$86K$78K$83K$48K$83K$86K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
010K20K30K40KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Financial analysts and gender

With 39% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 53% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
39%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Financial analysts
Men (61%)
Women (39%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for financial analysts, with the median salary for men 11% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$72K$81K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Financial analysts have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 67% of other jobs.

11%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of financial analysts

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority financial analysts than for 74% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of financial analysts
White (73% )
Asian (15% )
Black (8% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
25%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
19%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for financial analysts by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$61K$65K$67K$70K$72K$77K$83K$0$50K$100K$150KHispanicOtherBlackAmerican IndianMultiracialWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for financial analysts by nativity
$74K$83K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by financial analysts

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as financial analysts as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for financial analysts.

Education attained by financial analysts
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for financial analysts

Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. A number of fields of study provide appropriate preparation, including accounting, economics, finance, statistics, and mathematics.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended 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 financial analyst 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 can 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, 4 years of qualified work experience, and pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field of specialty.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for financial analysts? Below we see the distribution of financial analysts salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as financial analysts, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$52K$57K$59K$57K$73K$90K$101K$121K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KNone (0%)High School (2%)Some College (6%)Associate's Degree (3%)Bachelor's Degree (54%)Master's Degree (31%)Professional Deg/Doct (2%)Doctorate (1%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by financial analysts

This table shows the college majors held by people working as financial analysts. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Financial analysts with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as financial analysts, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by financial analysts given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for financial analysts

What jobs will most financial analysts hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of financial analysts reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Financial analystsAccountants and auditorsFinancial managersPersonal financial advisorsComputer systems analystsManagers (specialized areas)Chief executives and legislatorsManagement analystsSecurities, commodities, and financial services sales agentsBudget analystsFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersGeneral and operations managersFinancial specialistsReal estate brokers and sales agents
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for financial analysts

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 9 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as financial analysts as well as 1% of respondents after working as financial analysts. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for financial analysts: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as financial analysts? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of financial analysts surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Read about financial analysts
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Financial analysts typically do the following:

  • Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, which are 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 investment opportunities. They work in banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other businesses. Financial analysts are also called securities analysts and investment analysts.

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, and nonprofit organizations with large endowments, such as some universities.
  • Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Some analysts 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 industry, geographical region, or type of product. For example, an analyst may focus on a subject area such as the energy industry, a world region such as Eastern Europe, or the foreign exchange market. They must understand how new regulations, policies, political situations, and economic trends may affect investments.

Investing is becoming more global, and some financial analysts specialize in a particular country or region. Companies want those financial analysts to understand the language, culture, business environment, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.

The following are examples of types of financial analysts:

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.

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

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

Risk analysts evaluate the risk in investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. This job is carried out by making investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of financial analysts? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Analytical skills
Financial analysts must process a range of information in finding profitable investments.
Communication skills
Financial analysts must explain their recommendations to clients in clear language that clients can easily understand.
Computer skills
Financial analysts must be adept at using software packages to analyze financial data, see trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.
Decisionmaking skills
Financial analysts must provide a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell a security.
Detail oriented
Financial analysts must pay attention to details when reviewing possible investments, as small issues may have large implications for the health of an investment.
Math skills
Financial analysts use mathematical skills when estimating the value of financial securities.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for financial analysts
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for financial analysts was higher than 87% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $86KAll jobs' median $39K$82K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for financial analysts are anticipated to grow by 11% over the next decade; only 23% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for financial analysts is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300100,000200,000300,000400,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most financial analysts? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as financial analysts. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Financial Analysts per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.02.04.06.08.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where financial analysts earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for financial analysts compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for financial analysts.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Financial Analysts to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which financial analysts earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.02.5
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Financial analysts (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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