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Finance Major Salaries: What Do Finance Jobs Pay?

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Jobs in finance have always been an attractive option for business school graduates, offering rapid career progression, a fast-paced work environment, and high salaries.

A bachelor's degree in finance can help you break into the industry, but a Master of Finance can help you access the highest paying jobs in finance.

Let's look at the average salary of different finance jobs for graduates and postgraduates.

Average salary of entry-level finance roles

There are several finance-related fields that you can break into with a bachelor's degree. However, these are more likely to be in a junior position with lower salaries.

Here are a few popular entry-level roles for financial professionals and the median annual salary you can expect to receive in the United States.

Risk Management Assistant, US$41,000

For this role, you'll need to know how to identify and combat the potential financial risks in an organization. Risk management assistants will know how to assess financial risks and perform a risk assessment to evaluate a company's financial health.

As an entry-level position, you won't approach the same kinds of salaries as more senior roles in the financial sector. However, you could see higher salaries by moving up in the role. At a reputable financial institution, a role as a financial manager could come with six-figure salaries.

Underwriting Assistant, US$47,000

An underwriting assistant will work alongside a senior underwriter to assess whether customers are valid for loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products. They generally work for financial institutions like banks or insurance providers.

Because this is a junior role, an underwriting assistant can achieve a national average salary in the US of around US$47,000, on the lower end of the spectrum for the finance sector. On the other hand, a more senior underwriter could see a median salary of almost US$77,000.

Accountant, US$55,000

Working as a certified public accountant brings plenty of opportunities to work for a wide range of organizations. You'll be tasked with managing financial accounts for your clients and may advise clients on tax regulations.

While working as a junior accountant or certified public accountant doesn't come with the highest median salary compared to other finance positions, you will have the chance to progress to being a senior accountant or a financial manager.

Personal Financial Advisor, US$66,000

Much like financial managers, personal finance advisors advise organizations on their financial policies. However, as personal financial advisors work at a much lower level than financial managers, they can expect lower salaries, usually five-figure instead of six-figure.

As a personal finance advisor, you'll be responsible for assisting clients with financial questions, whether that's to do with investing, loans, or improving their credit score. Roles as personal financial advisors are some of the best-paying finance jobs for bachelor's degree graduates or those will little experience after a MiF, so it's worth researching if it's something for you.

Financial Analyst, US$74,000

Financial analysts work on improving the financial performance of insurance companies, consulting firms, and other corporations. As a financial analyst, you should be comfortable analyzing financial data and identifying market trends or other economic trends that may be pertinent to the organization you're working in.

A financial analyst is one of the best-paying jobs in the financial industry if you're just getting started. However, because financial analysts earn more than other entry-level positions, you might need specific work experience and relevant skills to land the role straight out of your finance degree. Regardless, financial analysts certainly earn enough to make a master's degree in finance a worthy investment, and you could make more by training as a chartered financial analyst.

Highest paying jobs in finance

The best paying jobs in finance require plenty of industry experience, a master's in a relevant field - or most likely both. Here are some average starting salaries for different finance roles.

Private Equity Associate: US$104,00

Like personal finance advisors, a private equity associate advises clients on financial policies. However, this role is usually concerned with investment banking and assisting clients with identifying the best investment opportunities. Consequently, you should be able to analyze market trends and evaluate the best ways of maximizing returns on investment.

At US$104,000, the median annual salary for this position is far higher than any entry-level finance job. With a role at a lucrative asset management firm, you could reach salaries of more than US$150,000 per year.

Hedge Fund Manager, US$119,000

As a hedge fund manager, you'll manage hedge funds for organizations and high-wealth individuals. Because these are typically high-risk investments, the role comes with a lot of pressure - and a high salary to boot.

Base salaries at some of the largest hedge funds in the world, like BlackRock, Bridgewater, and AQR Capital Management, are almost always in the six-figure category. However, you can expect your salary to rise significantly if you manage a lucrative portfolio or work in a specific investment niche.

Investment Bankers, US$134,000

In this role, you'll typically work for an investment bank, assisting clients on how to raise money in capital markets, including by selling bonds and stock. Your responsibilities might also include helping with mergers and acquisitions.

This is one of the most sought-after jobs in finance, mainly because of the huge pay checks that come with it. With a Master's in Finance, you'll be qualified for the higher-paid investment banking opportunities, which could see you earn a median annual wage of US$134,000 or more.

Financial Managers, US$134,000

Financial managers make some of the highest salaries in the financial sector, often reaching upwards of US$200k. They are responsible for advising organizations and private clients on their financial health and will do this by monitoring cash flows and analyzing financial reports for weaknesses in finances.

As a financial manager, you'll be a vital member of any company's finance department, meaning you'll also be paid one of the highest salaries of any finance job.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), US$178,000

A chief financial officer will make significant financial decisions for organizations, making overall budget decisions and determining which projects get the green light for financing. They must also ensure that the business abides by any finance regulation, particularly if the organization is undergoing a merger or acquisition.

Because this is one of the highest-paying finance jobs out there, it's a popular goal for MiF graduates. There's also plenty of opportunity for even higher salaries at the right company – the salary of a CFO can reach upwards of US$400,000.

Your next steps

A master's in finance can help you access some of the best paying roles in the industry. Read about the best programs, latest rankings, job prospects, and salaries.