Banking, Insurance & Finance

The banking, insurance, and finance sector is HUGE and touches on almost every single other industry.

It’s one of the world’s most exciting professional environments – and it’s much more than sitting in a stuffy cubicle punching numbers into a dusty calculator!

The industry is defined by providing management of money for individuals, businesses, and governments. The banking and financial system also includes the circulation of money, managing investments, and lending funds. Here’s a little breakdown of the three core areas:

  • Banking: Working for banking institutions to help individuals and businesses manage their money.
  • Investments: Helping individuals of businesses invest income to grow and secure their wealth.
  • Finance: Helping individuals of companies better understand their finances and the best ways to keep it safe, handle financial debt or manage their financial future.

There are three main areas of this industry you could work across:

  1. Personal (Helping individuals)
  2. Corporate (Helping businesses)
  3. Public (Helping government organizations)

Finance and accounting careers are regularly ranked as some of the most desirable professions available. In 2020, U.S. News and World Report ranked accounting as one of the top 50 jobs to pursue. The sector is popular for favorable work environments, income, employment outlook, physical demands, and low-stress levels.

Every organization has a finance department, meaning a finance career can get you working with some of the biggest companies out there. Alongside multiple entry pathways and ongoing professional development, it’s a career with lots to offer.

One of the best things about a career in finance is that there are heaps of different ways to get onto the path that’s right for you, whether as a school leaver or a graduate.

What You Could Do

Job roles in the banking, finance, and investment sector sit under four main areas:

  1. Banking
  2. Investments
  3. Financial Services
  4. Accounting

Here’s a few examples of the types of roles you could pursue:


  • Banking Trader: Traders provide a variety of financial services to individual clients, companies, or organizations. They often provide advice concerning investments, as well as assistance in financial asset portfolio management.
  • Bank Manager: Bank managers are responsible for the operational tasks of bank branches or similar financial institutions that sit under a banking organization. They oversee operational functions and provide solutions to challenges and customer service, staff training, and promotional support of the bank in general.
  • Mortgage Advisor: Some Mortgage Advisors work directly for specific lenders – such as banks – and advise potential clients and customers on their options available with that lender.



  • Investment Banker: Investment Bankers advise, buy and sell assets on the financial markets to raise money for their organization. It’s one of the highest-paid jobs in the financial sector and is a highly competitive field.
  • Investment Advisor: Investment Advisors are subject matter experts – helping clients and businesses understand their options and providing guidance on best-case success so they can maximize their investment opportunities.
  • Hedge Fund Manager: A hedge fund manager is responsible for managing an investor’s capital, running the fund’s daily affairs, and managing ongoing investment decisions regarding ensuring the best financial outcomes for their client.

Financial Services:


  • Financial Analyst: From banks, insurance providers, and stockbrokers to retailers and the public sector, financial analysts look at investment markets, stocks, bonds, and hedge funds to help their organization with financial planning. Their goal is to help the organization make well-informed decisions that best use resources to achieve company goals.
  • Insurance Broker: Insurance Brokers work with clients to help them understand and purchase the insurance they need. Unlike Insurance Agents, who work for insurance companies, Insurance Brokers work solely for individual clients, with their specific needs and interests in mind.
  • Financial Auditor: Financial auditors identify and assess any risks that could have a significant impact on the organization’s financial performance and make recommendations on the measures needed to mitigate those risks.




  • Accountant: Accountants are directly responsible for the financial affairs of their employers. Accounting covers a broad portfolio of financial work within a company, and there are different roles: from payroll and tax to accounts management.
  • Forensic Accounting: Forensic accounting looks at issues resulting from actual or anticipated disputes. Forensic accountants often have to give expert evidence at a trial. Many large accounting firms have specialist forensic accounting departments.
  • Investment Accounting: Investment accounting, portfolio accounting, or securities accounting – all describe the process of accounting for a portfolio of investments such as securities, commodities, and/or real estate held in an investment fund such as a mutual fund or hedge fund.

These job roles are just a taste of what’s on offer.

Each segment of the industry will also include lots of other functions that support the sector in meaningful ways, including:

  • IT and Digital Support
  • Customer Service
  • Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing

And many more!

Graduate Employment and Gender Split

Although a degree is not always essential for every career pathway in banking, finance, and investment, it’s worth knowing what graduate employment looks like to help set your expectations and make further decisions.

Data for graduate outcomes for finance and accounting majors isn’t widely available.

However, the National Association of Colleges and Employers tracks graduate employment and reports nearly 70% of business and other career-oriented majors are employed full time in a traditional setting, six months post-graduation.

They also advice that nearly 20% of the cohort in these majors progress to further study – making this a very promising field to pursue!

Gender Split

The gender split across the industry is pretty even, with only a marginally higher percentage of males.

Reports indicate that the average division is:

  • Males: 51%
  • Females: 49%

Industry Growth

In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment opportunities for accountants and auditors to grow by 10% leading up to 2026. Opportunities for financial analysts are predicted to increase by 11% during the same period.

Sectors within the industry predicted to significantly grow are those within management, consulting services, accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services; and general financial investment activities.

Accountancy firms, insurance companies, building societies, investment banks, high street banks, and public sector agencies are just some of the potential employers for those with an accounting or finance degree, with the large multinational financial services firms still offering many of the most popular opportunities. These firms often run large-scale recruitment campaigns to attract the most promising graduates in the field.

The industry has remained relatively stable during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is anticipated there will be disruptions in coming years as economies handle the financial challenges of the global impact of the pandemic.

As the industry grows, so will the technological advances, and new professionals will need to be prepared to keep up to date with the latest technology skills.

Average Salary

Current surveys in the sector indicate the median salaries for full-time financial roles as:


  • Entry-level Accountant Roles: $51,00-$67,900
  • Senior Accountant Roles: $88,000-$97,000
  • Banking Advisor Roles: $44,300-$67,000
  • Bank Manager Roles: $78-$104,000
  • Financial Auditor Roles: $65,500-$88,800


Salaries can be pretty varied and determined by several factors, including:


  • The segment of the industry you work within.
  • Your job title and seniority.
  • The amount of experience you have.
  • Where you work, for example, not-for-profit organizations tend to have lower salaries than for-profit or larger organizations.

Your location, for example, companies in large cities tend to pay more than those in rural areas.

Qualifications and Entry Pathways

One of the best things about a career in finance is that there are heaps of different ways to get onto the path that’s right for you, whether as a school leaver or a graduate.

Degree majors you could pursue to kickstart your career include:

  • Bachelor of Accountancy (BAcc, BAcy or BAccty)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting (BA/ACC)
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting (BSc/ACC)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Finance (BA/F)
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance (BSc/F)

To become a qualified accountant, you will need to obtain a professional accountancy qualification such as the globally recognized:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) certificate.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Requirements will depend on the type of role you want and the company – so make sure you do some research.

You can also pursue many roles in the sector through:

  • Scoring an apprenticeship: You can start an apprenticeship and work to gain industry-specific qualifications alongside your certificate of education and work experience.
  • Work experience once you leave school: If you leave school at 16, you can apply for work experience and school-leaver programs in entry-level positions and work your way up over time. Many of these organizations will also support you to gain further professional qualifications.


Whatever your circumstances, grades, or preferred way forward – there’s a career path into finance that will work for you.

Best Places to Study

Where you choose to study will be dependent on a range of factors, but some top institutions for finance and accountancy include:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • New York University
  • University of Michigan
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Texas
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Boston College
  • Carnegie Mellon University

Where to Learn More

You can find out more about different banking, finance, and investment industries through professional bodies and organizations that advocate for careers in the sector.

Some good places to start include:

And many more!

Each state will also have several professional organizations that can help you learn more about the industry, network, and develop your career.