Financial analyst jobs are among the hottest positions now, and financial analyst salary ranges are on the rise, with ranges forecast to be up by 3.9 percent to 4.3 percent from a year ago.
Companies rely on experienced financial analysts to support business growth by identifying trends in financial data and helping senior management make informed decisions.
For that reason, candidates to fill financial analyst jobs are in demand across many industries. These jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 16 percent through 2022, faster than the average for all jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Whether you've worked in financial analyst jobs or are just starting your career, here's some vital information to help guide you in your job search or your career path, starting with salary.
Salaries for financial analyst jobs
Just starting out? A financial analyst with less than a year of experience at a small company can expect a starting salary in the range of $47,500 to $55,750, according to Robert Half's latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance. Most financial analyst jobs are full time, and about a third of all financial analysts work more than 40 hours per week, according to the BLS.
Do you have a little more experience? At a midsize company, the projected starting salary for a financial analyst with one to three years of experience is between $61,250 and $78,500, which is a 4.3 percent increase from the year before.
Are you in management? Salaries for financial analyst jobs at the manager level can be anywhere from $81,000 to $103,000 at a small company, to $92,250 to $122,000 at a midsize company, and $104,00 to $141,750 at a large company.
So as you can see, there's room to grow.
Visit our Salary Center and get more information about hiring trends, hot jobs and salaries; use the Salary Calculator to adjust these salaries for your city; and download your own copy of the Salary Guide.
Duties and expectations
Financial analysts look at data to project a company’s future earnings and make recommendations to management based on their findings. They study current and historical economic and business trends and also assess the value of an organization based on its financial statements. Those in financial analyst jobs often make recommendations regarding investment decisions.
CFOs say there's an increasing need for specialized knowledge and for professionals who can "drill down" on all financial data collected and quickly provide analyses to enable better business decisions.
Aside from that, financial analysts also must have strong communication skills in order to convey their recommendations clearly and effectively.
Professional experience and skills
Managers hiring for financial analyst jobs typically look for someone with a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, and candidates with MBAs are often preferred, particularly for senior-level positions. Certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), demonstrate knowledge and expertise to prospective employers and clients.
In addition, hiring managers expect financial analysts to have knowledge of current financial software, including Microsoft Excel and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. They should also have data analytics skills, including the ability to observe meta-patterns. Written and verbal communication skills, a detail-oriented approach, decision-making abilities and soft skills such as collaboration, tact and diplomacy are also important. Financial analysts should be self-starters willing to dig deep into research. They should be able to work independently with minimal supervision.
If you want to work in finance, but you're not sure if any of the financial analyst jobs you see are right for you, consider seeking something similar as a budget analyst, financial manager or senior accountant.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated recently to reflect the new Salary Guide data.