Finance Industry May Begin Adding Jobs

Hottest finance jobs include compliance specialists and tax managers.

Know someone looking for a job in finance? Tell ’em to try Uncle Sam. Washington is likely to be the biggest hirer in the field for the next few years, as regulatory agencies staff up to write and enforce new financial regulations. Private employers will add to financial services payrolls as well, after a couple of tough years for financial professionals.

While Congress and the White House are discussing possible pay freezes and weighing job cuts, federal jobs will be added by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In the private sector, compliance and tax and wealth management jobs will be the hot finance jobs in 2011, as companies look for workers who can take on the new regulatory and economic landscape.

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Many firms will beef up their compliance departments to conform to regulations and the new law. Those looking to hire: Smaller banks that haven’t had robust compliance staffs, private equity firms that now have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and newly regulated hedge funds.

Finance companies will also look to add staff that can directly add to revenue, such as private bankers and wealth managers. Examples: Citigroup is hiring 300 private bankers over the next three years; USAA is adding 30% to its 1,450-adviser workforce by the end of the year and that many more next year, too. The goal: Capitalize on the need for financial guidance.

Jobs in financial services have fallen 9.3% since the end of 2006, after peaking at 8.4 million, and they are proving slow to come back. Financial firms are waiting for boosted loan demand, and for the overall economy to show more promise of growth, before increasing their workforce.

Investment banking and wholesale banking jobs will be particularly hard to find. Mortgage broker positions and those associated with residential real estate will remain elusive for some time to come. These specialties were the hardest hit in the economic crisis of 2008-09.

Karen Mracek
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter