Banking Versus Securities And Commodities As A Career

Deciding which career path to take is without a doubt challenging. Many people end up working in one field for a period and then opt for an entirely different field altogether because they aren’t satisfied with what they’re currently doing to put bread on the table. Speaking of bread on the table, besides rewarding and challenging work How much a job pays is definitely top of the list with regard to personal employment needs.

This article will focus specifically on careers in banking and securities and commodities, which according to author Laurence Shatkin are two of the most promising options for those considering a career in finance.

Let’s start with banking:

When one thinks of working for a bank, one of the first images that comes to mind is that of the bank teller. Working as a teller is where many people start as bank employees. According to Pay scale expected earnings are $17,338 – $28,884 a year. A formal qualification isn’t usually required to get an entry level position at a bank. However for those looking to climb the ladder to the likes of a branch manager will need a bachelor’s degree in finance, business or economics.

Branch managers can expect to earn $35,552 – $77,076 a year according to Pay Scale. High-level executive positions CEO’s and CFO’s are very well paid (Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase made 23 million dollars in 2011).

However, climbing the ladder to reach these positions requires years of dedication and hard work and the positions themselves are few and far between.

Bank work includes a range of activities such as liaising with clients, setting up investment, saving and debit order facility on their behalf.

So that’s banking. Let’s move onto securities and commodities related positions:

Most of us have seen stock brokers on the trading floor in movies (a fairly popular scene). Everyone screams like banshees and the only words that can be deciphered are buy and sell. The operation has moved away from this quite a bit and most modern trading is done with the help of digital mediums.

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Most people enter the field as stock brokers, which is one of the more well-known positions. Stock brokers rely more on commission than salary and earn $35,391 – $122,276 a year (Payscale). Entering the market isn’t as tough as one would think either. Entry-level typically require a bachelor’s degree in business or finance and upon completion, licensing exams.

As with most fields, practical performance outweighs theory initially and how well a person does depends more on dedication and persistence. Due to the commission based nature of this job, these two traits are crucial for those choosing this career area.

In most cases firms provide a good deal of assistance to those starting out as stock brokers and provide starter accounts as well as lists of potential contacts. The downside is however, that salaries can be deducted from commissions that are made initially.

As with banking, the top positions in securities are occupied by holders of financial related degrees and MBAs. Getting there is no small feat either and requires hours of hard work under stressful conditions.

Deciding on which path to choose will depend on personal and financial needs. Banking work tends to stick to regular hours (i.e. 9 5) which is great for those that have families. In contrast, securities jobs revolve around more irregular hours and overtime work will often be required, however the pay-off financially will be good.

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