The Future of Finance Jobs

In the not so long-gone past, many career advisers were advising young people seeking to start out a career to go into finance. The financial markets were doing well then, finance jobs were in plenty and MBA schools were bursting with young students seeking to build a career in finance. And the finance jobs were, of course, not limited to the financial markets. With a strong economy, finance graduates who couldn’t get jobs in the financial markets and investment banks could quite easily be absorbed into commerce and industry accounting jobs. Other would get middle office finance jobs in the public service, and going was good.

Then the bubble burst.

The economy went into recession mode, the financial markets shrunk and finance graduates who had taken up jobs with investment banks found themselves facing the axe, as the investment banks are the worst affected by turmoil in the financial markets. And as if on cue, companies, in a bid to cut costs, were also cutting on their head counts, thus also shaking the fortunes of the finance graduates who found commerce and industry accounting jobs in the private sector. In the midst of all this, it seems that the only secure finance graduates are those who took up middle office finance jobs in the public sector, but even this is not fear-proof for we do not know for sure what the full effects of the economic turmoil will be on civil service staffing.

So in the face of all this, what is the future of finance jobs?

It might seem counter-intuitive to say, but the future of finance jobs is still bright, in spite of the current turmoil in the financial markets. As it were, economists tell us that the current economic turmoil is largely short-term to medium term, which is to say that it won’t be with us forever. Which means that the people who chose to pursue a career in finance need not regret their choice, as better times are coming. But even before the better times arrive, the people with finance backgrounds who are currently getting laid off might not find themselves in the cold for too long.

As governments unveil the various economic stimulus plans, there will be need for people to manage the money as it goes into various sectors – which translates to some finance jobs. Of course the finance jobs created in this way will be for the best brains in finance.

And then there is the fact that all companies, like human beings, have a native survival instinct, which they are likely to find handy in these hard economic times. One survival strategies for companies in crises is to hire the experts who are likely to navigate them through the particular crises. And since the current crisis is financial, the companies are likely to find themselves hiring financial experts to help them address the economic crisis. Of course, the companies are not likely to be overtly looking for finance experts to help them address the financial crises. What we are likely to see is an increase in commerce and industry accounting jobs, but the accountants so hired are bound to be almost exclusively tasked with cost and revenue management tasks, geared towards helping their employers sail through the turbulent times successfully.

And finally the good times will surely come back again. If the history of the financial markets is anything to go by, we know that all bursts are always followed by booms.

Three Steps to the Top Finance Jobs

The current rough state of economy doesn’t mean that there will be absolutely no finance jobs. It just means that the finance jobs will be fewer, and the competition for them will be steeper. So if you are a finance professional, and happen to be looking for a finance job in these tough economic times, here are three steps, which if properly taken, can push you ahead of the pack in the competition for the few finance jobs available.

1. Update Your Skill Set. Unique circumstances call for unique skills, if one is to sail through them successfully. Most professionals looking for the top finance jobs right now are equipped with skill-sets which were adequate for the better times, but which might be considered inadequate for the current circumstances. Simply put, to beat your competitors in the search for top finance jobs, you will need to have skills that they don’t have. Having a unique skill-set gives an employer a reason to consider you for a job in preference to another candidate. And this applies whether you are looking for the top finance jobs in the financial sector, the middle office finance jobs in governments and non-profit organizations or even for the more ordinary commerce and industry accounting jobs. The unique skills in question need not be anything really fancy. Having, for example, a certificate in project management (which you can earn in a couple of weeks) puts you ahead of another candidate without such a certificate, even if you have the same basic qualification. Similarly if you are looking for commerce and industry accounting jobs, you might be well advised to approach the potential employer armed with at least some basic understanding of the workings of the business or industry you are considering working in. Armed with such a basic understanding of the underlying industry or business puts you at least one step ahead of another equally qualified finance expert who lacks such understanding.

2. Work on Your Resume. The presentation of your resume can make a great difference in your search for top finance jobs, and is likely to have an influence on the employer, even before they get to look at its contents. You might consider enlisting the help of a professional resume service, to help with the presentation of your resume. Remember the number of otherwise qualified candidates who get otherwise shoved out of the recruitment process simply because of poor resume presentation is huge – ensure you don’t fall for the same trap.

3. Consider enlisting the help of a finance recruitment agency. In a bid to reduce the workload involved in the recruitment process, many employers are increasingly turning to recruitment agencies for their staffing needs. This is especially true for executive jobs, like the top finance jobs, whose recruitment process might involve some level of head-hunting, and which employers might feel uneasy doing themselves, preferring to delegate it to recruitment agencies instead. Many employers are also increasingly turning to these finance recruitment agencies even for jobs which don’t necessarily involve head-hunting, like commerce and industry accounting jobs and other middle office finance jobs. This means that anyone looking for any sort of finance job is best advised to at least deposit their resume with the one of the major finance recruitment agencies. These finance recruitment agencies usually charge very nominal fees for their services, and the services they provide are very often worth what they charge.