No industry has experienced as much turmoil over the past few years than the banking and finance sectors of the economy. Blamed by many for the current global economic woes, banking has, nevertheless, rebounded quite impressively. Profitability has returned, making employment in this industry a likely winner for the coming years. There is not only a probable increase in the number of positions available, but it seems to be one of the few industries that will see wage increases in the near future. Pursuing a career in banking at this point in time seems like a relatively safe decision.
Banking jobs vary and a good percentage of jobs in the banking sector are administrative, ranging from human resources to accounting. There are also loan specialists that help individuals and institutions borrow money for everything from a home mortgage to business capital. The most lucrative opportunities involve managing and investing the money the bank holds, as well as providing similar investment services to private clients. There are also a variety of financial specialists needed in accounting, analysis, and arbitrage.
Banks come in all shapes and sizes. The most common type of bank is a neighborhood retail bank. The types of banking jobs available at retail banks include guiding individual customers through the process of opening, and managing, checking and savings accounts. A banking job at a retail bank can also include answering client questions regarding the purchase of different products and services, such as interest-earning certificates of deposit. Offering loans to people, primarily home mortgages and small business loans, is another type of retail banking job. Cashiers, account officers, and managers must have excellent people skills in order to be successful in retail banking. Credit unions offer similar products but operate under different rules and regulations according to federal guidelines.
Commercial banks deal primarily with businesses, both large and small. They handle accounts for their clients and offer them lines of credit. It is this kind of bank that helps ensure business payments and processes happen quickly and regularly. There are also investment banks that manage money for individuals, businesses, money funds, and for themselves. It is this banking sector that has come under incredible scrutiny lately, but the trade-off is significant compensation packages for its employees.
Finally, there are central banks. These are large government institutions that control interest rates and the money supply. These lenders ensure the smaller commercial, retail, and investment banks have the liquidity to loan money to businesses and consumers, in order to keep the U.S. economy running smoothly.
The current model for success in the banking industry includes getting a degree in a related field, like business, statistics, or finance. As compensation in the banking industry increases, the employment requirements become more rigorous. An entry level banking job, everything from a teller to a junior accountant, requires a bachelor’s degree. The more competitive positions, including financial analysis and investment banking, show an increase in candidates applying with master’s degrees from top schools. In addition, many students procure internships in the specific department that they want employment in after graduation.
One problem in the banking sector that may affect employment prospects is the rapid consolidation that is occurring nationwide. Finding smaller banks in which to gain experience is becoming more difficult as they close or are being swallowed up by the few big banks left standing. This is an industry in flux, but one that is sure to provide new opportunities for those with the proper education and experience.
Last Updated: 11/11/2012