Careers in the Financial Services Sector

The financial services sector is a broad definition which covers many businesses. In a broad definition it can be defined as banking, insurance, superannuation, accounting and financial institutions. Within banking there is transactional banking, investment banking and corporate banking. Within each of those there is a massive range of different sectors.

Within insurance there is the retail insurance, business and re-insurance. Drill down further in insurance and there is the policy side – developing, marketing and selling policies and the investment side – investing policyholders’ funds. As well as a host of other roles.

On the lending side of finances there are the well-known finance companies that lend to consumers and businesses and the mortgage and finance brokers. But there is also their procurement arm which is responsible for sourcing their funds and their investment side which invests to grow the business.

Superannuation is a very important sector of the Australian financial services sector. There are roles in many areas with the main fund managers, industry fund managers and through to self-employed financial advisors and financial planners who consult with individual clients on investment strategies.

The share market or financial markets is a whole other sector with yet another range of job skills required and career opportunities available. This area could also encompass hedge funds and some investment companies.

Careers in the finance sector and finance-related industries are vast. The industry as a whole is multi-faceted with the larger finance-specific companies, another layer of business in even more targeted and niche areas, business that provide support services to the larger companies and smaller consultancies with very specific and specialised roles.

In addition to careers with finance companies, there are roles within individual businesses for finance professionals. For example, someone with an accounting degree could work for any number of finance companies, banks, etc or one of the big accounting firms. They may also work for smaller accounting practices and partnerships or take a role with a business as their accountant or CFO – chief financial officer. Within the accounting profession there is a wide scope with bookkeepers and accounts department staff usually supporting the senior accountants and partners.

Going deeper into these categories and you’ll find analysts, strategies, advisors, asset managers, client managers, financial reporters and journalists, finance marketing specialists.

People looking for a career in the finance sector don’t necessarily have to choose a specific job or role as a starting point. You can acquire your tertiary qualifications then select to specialise through an internship or junior role; branch out horizontally into related fields and roles; advance vertically with increasingly senior roles within the same company or sector; or have a complete change from say an institutional role to the client side and work for a business in an industry you have a specific interest in.

Governments at all levels engage many financial professionals in all departments to handle their public financial management.

To discuss your own individual career pathway, universities hold career events where industry representatives attend to talk with students and there are many resources available through finance industry associations.