do more than offer appealing pay packages
When it comes to all things money, one group of professionals is superbly versed in the financial needs of their organisations and clients. Financial analysts are important members of every organisation’s business services as well as internal operations. This group of professionals serves a wide variety of needs, ranging from gathering and analysing data, assessing investment and risk potential, advising company leaders on planned initiatives, providing clients with market insights and helping with business plans. Possessing broad and niche skills, demand for this specialty role is growing as the financial world becomes increasingly complicated.
The financial analyst role encompasses a broad category of professionals whose expertise is more and more critical to organisations and investors. As a result, employment for analysts is rising more quickly than the overall job market. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for these workers is estimated to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029, outpacing the 4% projected for the US workforce. The agency points out that a rising number of financial products, along with predicted higher economic activity, are driving the demand for these skills.
For all businesses, acquiring skilled financial analysts is a mandate they must meet. Whether they are in financial services, construction, engineering or just about any other sector, these professionals provide a deep understanding of the economic factors that may affect a company’s or an individual’s investments and spending.
Employers looking to attract financial analysts will need to consider a number of factors most important to these professionals. As is the case for many other workers, compensation is the most critical employee value proposition for hiring financial analysts. Because they are highly skilled and have chosen a career in the financial services sector, analysts place an even greater emphasis on pay and benefits when considering prospective employers.
- Offering competitive compensation, then, is simply the table stakes that every company must do to attract the best talent. The size of annual bonuses is also often taken into job acceptance consideration.
The BLS reported that in 2019, the median wage for financial analysts was approximately $82,000, with the highest 10% earning more than $156,000. In comparison, the median salary for all jobs in the US was approximately $40,000.
To ensure they don’t lose out on great talent, employers will have to stay current on what is considered competitive pay and benefits for a particular analyst role. For instance, those who specialise in corporate financing will for sure demand a different pay grade than those focusing on individual investment. In addition, pay differences are significant from one region to another.
But beyond pay, what else is important to financial analysts when considering an employer?
Opportunities to advance, the prospect for equity or partnership at a company, and reasonable working hours are often compelling offerings that draw these workers to an employer. In addition, the opportunity to join a company with seniority also has a strong appeal as this can lead to more opportunities for management and leadership roles in the future.
Without question, companies that have both a strong corporate and employer brand have the strongest appeal to financial analysts. Global banks such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and a number of others are well recognised and attract applicants all around the world each year. With a strong reputation for being sector leaders – and for generous pay packages – these banks have the best chance of recruiting the best financial analysts.
For companies that may boast considerably fewer assets, or are not in the financial services sector, hiring great financial analysts can be a struggle.
- The key to success, however, is creating a strong employee value proposition that appeals to these financial specialists. This means providing clear career advancement paths, skilling or learning offerings and a proper work-life balance.
A persistent complaint of many financial services professionals is stressful work and long hours. Recently, a small group of bankers surveyed at Goldman Sachs complained of 95-hour workweeks. While their roles may differ from financial analysts, many rely on analysts to provide the insights needed to do their jobs. Companies that offer manageable work schedules may have greater appeal to job applicants.
Another consideration for attracting these professionals is the workplace environment. In the past, many workers in the financial services sector were concentrated in the financial hubs of the world, such as New York, London and Hong Kong.
But with the pandemic enabling remote work, employers will need to reassess how this shift will change the location of talent pools and the migration of top talent away from these hubs, which have experienced huge declines in demand for office space and on-site workforces. The question for many companies is deciding whether remote work for at least a few days a week will help attract finance professionals to their workforce.
As the financial sector accelerates its transformation, the need for financial analyst skills will also shift. Companies are sure to face stiffer competition, not just for top talent, but also for students entering the labour market.
Offering good pay and benefits is just part of the overall employee value proposition employers must deliver on. It really comes down to the softer benefits and employer brand that will determine who comes out the winner in the war for financial analyst talent.