Best Entry-Level Finance Jobs (2024)

Finance can be a fiercely competitive field. It’s a famously high-paying industry known to deal out six or seven figures in salaries and bonuses for those at the top. Even those on the bottom rung can expect to start at a good wage compared with other fields.

You may not walk into your dream job in finance right away, but the industry is vast, so when you’re in, there’s plenty of room to evolve, move around, and find your niche.

But first you have to get your foot in the door.

Women and members of many minority groups are underrepresented in financial occupations. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures for 2023 show that women made up 43.9% of financial and investment analysts; 13.8% were Black or African American, 11.7% were Asian, and 8.3% were Latinx or Hispanic. Among personal finance advisors, the numbers were 32.6% women, 6.4% Black or African American, 6.3% Asian, and 8.6% Latinx or Hispanic.

Key Takeaways

  • Finance sector jobs pay higher than the median salary, even at entry-level positions.
  • Popular entry-level jobs in finance include analysts, tax associates, auditors, and financial advisors.
  • There is a lack of racial and gender diversity in the finance industry.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that finance sector jobs are projected to grow8% from 2022 to 2032.
  • You don’t need an Ivy League background to get in on the finance action, but an undergraduate degree is required at the very least, and economics- or math-oriented majors are preferable.

Entry-Level Salary

According to the job search website Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for an entry-level finance job is $64,239 per year, with an average salary of $52,936 per year. Here are projected salaries for 2024 college graduates with select majors, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Winter 2024 Salary Survey:

  • Engineering graduates in the class of 2024 are projected to see the biggest starting salaries: $76,736 per year (up 3.1% from 2023 projections).
  • Computer science graduates are likely to see the second-highest paychecks, with an average salary projection of around $74,778 (up 2.7% from 2023).
  • Business majors' starting salaries are expected to be a median of $63,907 annually, up more than 3% from 2023.
  • Financial specialists (accountants/auditors, financial analysts, and tax specialists are projected to earn $63,847, a 0.5% increase over 2023.

According to the BLS, to get a sense of how high the overall average income is, in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023, the median individual income was $1,145 per week ($59,540 annually). And the 2023 median U.S. household income per the U.S. Census Bureau was $74,580.

The BLS estimates that employment in business and financial operations occupations is projected to growfaster than other occupations between 2022 to 2032, with 911,400 openings projected each year, on average.

Education Requirements

So how do you start? Well, the good news is that you don’t need a Harvard Business School degree. Having several years of financial or business work experience is often preferable before acquiring a master of business administration (MBA) degree.

However, an undergraduate degree is required for a position at almost any reputable financial institution. Though companies claim that they hire majors of all types, ideally, your academic background should demonstrate your ability to understand and work with numbers. That requires knowledge of economics, applied mathematics, accounting, business, and computer sciences.

Interestingly, the NACE study found that in breaking down financial sector salaries by major, those who concentrated on engineering and computer sciences had higher paychecks. And those in sales ranked lower. If your primary major is in a different field, try to minor in a finance-related area.

Internships Are a Steppingstone

Internships are even more critical. Many firms visit campuses to recruit for summer internships or hold symposia, workshops, or networking opportunities. Examples include the Goldman Sachs Possibilities Summits and Morgan Stanley’s Early Insights programs.

Internships can be as tough to secure as an actual job, but they’re invaluable. They not only provide contacts and experience but also often lead directly to a spot in the company’s training program after graduation—or, at least, in the innermost circle of consideration.

Continuing Financial Education

If you have already graduated, continuing education is another way to boost your financial IQ and demonstrate your commitment to a financial sector career. Finance-specific credentials such as the chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified public accountant (CPA), or certified financial planner (CFP) designations can all help your job prospects, depending on the particular facet of finance that you are targeting.

In the United States, professionals who plan to deal with investments and finances must pass a series of licensing exams. In the past, you had to be sponsored by a financial institution even to take one of these tests. However, since 2018, when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) finalized the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, it can be taken without sponsorship.

The exam is open to anyone age 18 or older. The 75-question, 105-minute SIE exam is ideal for “demonstrating basic industry knowledge to prospective employers,” according to the FINRA website.


The median pay in 2022 (the most recent figure, as of March 23, 2024) for a financial analyst with a bachelor’s degree.

Lack of Diversity in the Financial Industry

Unfortunately, there is a lack of diversity in the financial industry, especially within top management positions. Companies are working to address and remedy this inequity. For example, according to the CFP Board, CFP professionals in 2022 (the latest figures) were the most diverse group ever. The number of Black and Latinx CFP finance professionals grew 8.8% and 10.3%, respectively. However, there are still only 4,476 Black and Latinx CFP professionals among a total of 95,137.

There are nonprofits and advocacy groups, like the Alliance of Black Women Accountants and the National Association of Black Accountants, available to support people of color who are working in or who want to work in finance. In addition, 100 Women in Finance, the Greenwood Project, and Blackstone Future Women Leaders Program provide support to people of color and women in the workplace.

According to a 2021 study by Bloomberg, minority students, especially women, are underrepresented in business schools. According to data, “Students of Hispanic background made up 9.4% of MBA enrollment, about half the Hispanic share of the U.S. population. Black students had 8% of MBA seats, less than the 14% Black share of the population. Asian students, the best-represented group, exceeded the Asian share of the U.S. population at 62 of 84 schools.” Three years later, Bloomberg noted that business schools are still lagging on diversity.

More students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), particularly women, should investigate grants and scholarships designed to help finance majors earn their degrees to boost these figures. Among them are:

  • National Association of Black Accountants National Scholarship
  • Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship
  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students
  • The Tang Scholarship

Looking for Finance Jobs: Best Entry-Level Positions

The key is to identify the most rewarding entry-level jobs in terms of salary and future career prospects and think hard about which might be the best fit for your abilities and interests. When you have narrowed down which interests you the most, you can begin your search.

Aside from your network of friends and family, online job sites are a logical place to search for entry-level finance roles. LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster are good sites. Still, it might be more efficient to scour sites that specialize in finance industry jobs or resources, such as eFinancialCareers, BrokerHunter, or 10X EBITDA (for investment banking).

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts work for investment companies, insurance companies, consulting firms, and other corporate entities. They are responsible for consolidating and analyzing budgets and income statement projections. They prepare reports, conduct business studies, and develop forecast models. Financial analysts research economic conditions, industry trends, and company fundamentals.

Financial analysts also often recommend a course of action for investments, reducing costs, and improving financial performance. Along with a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or economics, you should have robust information technology (IT) skills for an analyst role.

The BLS estimated that there were about 376,100 financial analyst jobs in the American economy in 2022 and projected an average growth rate of 8% through 2032 for them. According to the BLS, financial analysts earned a median salary of $96,2200 in 2022.

Financial careers tend to be found and flourish in major financial hubs and cities like New York, Chicago, London, and Tokyo. Seeking out college internships at major financial firms’ headquarters can help you get ahead when you begin to apply for entry-level positions.

Investment Banking Analyst

Investment banking is one of the most prestigious areas of the financial sector; investment banking professionals assist individuals, corporations, venture capital firms, and even governments with their requirements related to capital. Investment banksunderwrite new debt and equities for all types ofcorporations, aid in selling securities, take companies public, facilitatemergers and acquisitions and reorganizations,and broker trades for institutions and private investors.

An analyst usually fills an entry-level role at an investment bank, hedge fund, or venture capital firm. Their most common duties include producing deal-related materials, performing industry research and financial analyses of corporate performance, and collecting materials for due diligence. Recommendations based on the interpretation of financial data often play a role in determining whether certain activities or deals are feasible.

The average investment banking analyst’s starting salary was $81,579 in March 2024, according to Payscale, a compensation analysis site. Candidates have a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, or management, though this is one job for which a master’s degree in these areas helps, too.

Junior Tax Associate/Accountant

Some financial services remain in constant demand, especially those associated with taxation—the need to comply with changing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations and local and state laws. These professionals implement measures and develop policies relating to taxes, including calculating and estimating payments, conducting research, reviewing internal fiscal systems, preparing returns and other tax-related documents, and working with auditors.

These duties may sound arcane, but tax-related jobs can often lead to corporate positions such as controller (or comptroller), accounting manager, budget director, and even treasurer or chief financial officer (CFO). For this sort of work, candidates need a bachelor’s degree in accounting (or at least accounting skills) and a CPA license if you want to advance. However, companies often offer the opportunity to obtain one while on the job.

With this in mind, a junior tax associate’s role is ideal for college graduates seeking work experience in the financial sector. According to the BLS, the annual median salary was $57,950 in 2022, but this field is expected to see little or no change in the number of jobs by 2032.

Though financial jobs often come with high pay and prestige, they are also among the most stressful, and early career burnout is not uncommon.

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors evaluate the monetary needs of individuals and help them make decisions about investing, budgeting, and saving. Advisors help clients strategize for short- and long-term financial goals, such as tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Many advisors provide tax services or sell insurance in addition to providing financial counsel. They might offer financial products such as mutual funds or even directly manage investments or serve as a liaison between the individual and an asset manager.

TheBLS estimated the median annual wage in 2022 for personal financial advisors was $95,390, and it projects a much faster-than-average growth of 13% through 2032. The BLS cites demographic trends, such as the retirement of the baby boomer generation, the growing numbers of self-employed people, and the dwindling of private-sector employer pension plans, as driving a need for advisory services.

The profession doesn’t require any specific bachelor’s degree. However, financial advisors can benefit from the study of economics, math, and finance. They also need to be good communicators because they must interpret and explain complex subjects to laypeople, so the critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills honed in liberal arts fields can be helpful, too.

Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies or provide specific investment advice must pass various licensing examinations. However, this is done on the job because you have to be employed or sponsored by a securities or investment firm to take them. Remember, though, that anyone can take the basic SIE exam. Many advisors also earn industry credentials, such as becoming a CFP, to enhance their prestige and networking opportunities.

How Many Jobs Are Available in Finance?

There are literally thousands of jobs available in the robust finance industry, from finance assistant to chief executive officer (CEO), and from accountant to certified financial advisor. It depends on the sector in which you are job hunting. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 27,400 projected financial analyst jobs to be added every year through 2032.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Finance Degree?

There are several entry-level jobs you can get with a finance degree, depending on your area of study, type of degree, and experience. Junior tax accountant, stockbroker, personal finance advisor, banking assistant, and financial analyst are a few entry-level choices. There are also many jobs available to master of business administration (MBA) graduates, including financial analyst, accountant, tax advisor, certified financial advisor, and/or a position at a hedge fund or in the securities market.

What Are the Highest-Paying Finance Jobs?

Some of the highest-paying jobs in finance include financial advisor, senior accountant, investment banker, hedge fund manager, and financial analyst.

What Is the Entry-Level Salary for a Finance Job?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) lists an expected average first-year salary of $64,887 for finance majors in 2024. The jobs- and compensation-tracking website Glassdoor indicates that for 2024, the average entry-level finance position is paid a base salary of around $52,936 plus bonuses and additional compensation of $11,303, for a total of $64,239.

Where Do I Look to Find a Finance Job?

Online websites can be an excellent resource. LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed are all helpful job search sites, but don’t neglect using those that specialize in finance industry jobs or resources. These include eFinancialCareers, BrokerHunter, and 10X EBITDA (for investment banking). Of course, personal connections are generally pure gold, so nothing is as effective as a useful network of friends and family, should you be fortunate enough to have one.

The Bottom Line

Getting your foot in the finance door takes serious preparation and commitment. It’s a highly competitive industry, so treat the process as a job in itself, leave no networking stone unturned, and keep up to date with all the latest finance news. Develop your knowledge, pursue further education if required, be as proactive as possible, and remember to stay positive.

Joining the world of finance is definitely possible if you play your search cards right. And don’t worry if your first job isn’t your dream job. The goal is to find your way inside that heavily guarded fortress. You can work on the rest from there.

Best Entry-Level Finance Jobs (2024)


How to break into the finance industry with no experience? ›

How to Break Into Finance with No Experience
  1. Offer to Work (for Free) at a Search Fund.
  2. Start a Blog about Investing.
  3. Write Articles on Seeking Alpha and Value Investors Club.
  4. Start a Solo Small Business.
  5. Invest Your Own Money.
  6. Take Courses or get Certificates.
  7. Network Aggressively and Systematically.
  8. Conclusion.

What is the lowest position in finance? ›

Entry-level financial jobs include opportunities that you may pursue with minimal relevant experience. Qualifications vary, but most entry-level positions require at least a bachelor's degree. Common entry-level jobs in finance include tax associates, auditors, accountants and analysts.

What are the least stressful jobs in finance? ›

Low-Stress Jobs in Finance
  • Financial Consultant.
  • Financial Analyst.
  • Accounting.
  • Portfolio Manager.
  • Personal Financial Advisor.
  • Internal Auditor.
  • Financial Planning & Analysis Manager.
  • Insurance Advisor (Risk Manager)
Dec 10, 2022

Is it difficult to get a job in finance? ›

You don't need an MBA to work in finance, but the field is highly competitive, especially at the entry-level. Internships offer experience, exposure, and a tryout for a full-time gig.

Can you get a CFA without a finance degree? ›

The requirements make no mention of having any other sort of finance background. So, your success on the CFA is not reliant on having a background in finance. What's far more important will be your work ethic and study discipline leading up to the test.

What is the highest paying finance job? ›

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs in Finance
  • Chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Investment banking.
  • Hedge fund manager.
  • Private equity associate.
  • Actuary.
Feb 6, 2024

Is a financial analyst a 9-5 job? ›

Most financial analysts work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Do finance jobs have bad work life balance? ›

On average, Financial Analysts can expect to work between 40 to 70 hours per week, with the longer end typical for those in investment banking or during busy financial reporting periods. Workload can fluctuate with market conditions, fiscal year-ends, and the specific demands of their employer.

Is finance a stable career? ›

Finance degree jobs can provide relatively high pay, stability, opportunities for advancement and consistent demand projections. Careers in finance may also offer flexibility for employees by allowing them to work remotely or in hybrid environments.

Will finance be replaced by AI? ›

Impact on the future of business finances

However, it is unlikely that AI will fully replace human accountants. Instead, AI will most likely be used to augment the work of accountants, allowing for more strategic decision-making and deeper insights.

What is the best career path for a finance major? ›

Top 10 entry-level jobs in finance
  • Financial analyst. A financial analyst — sometimes called a business analyst — uses financial data to guide business decisions. ...
  • Personal financial adviser. ...
  • Accountant. ...
  • Loan officer. ...
  • Insurance sales agent. ...
  • Budget analyst. ...
  • Auditor. ...
  • Tax specialist.

How do I know if finance is right for me? ›

What Traits Should I Possess? When dealing with finances, it is extremely important to be detail-oriented, organized, analytical and a good communicator.

How do I get experience in the finance industry? ›

How to start a career in finance
  1. Earn a bachelor's degree. ...
  2. Pursue an internship. ...
  3. Ask for referrals. ...
  4. Take relevant courses. ...
  5. Pair up with a mentor. ...
  6. Attend career fairs. ...
  7. Start in an entry-level position.
Apr 18, 2024

How do I break into an industry with no experience? ›

8 tips to get a job with no experience
  1. Lean on your interpersonal skills. Nearly every position requires interpersonal skills. ...
  2. Highlight your transferable skills. ...
  3. Take courses. ...
  4. Tap into your network. ...
  5. Tailor your resume. ...
  6. Apply for entry-level jobs. ...
  7. Develop skills during your free time. ...
  8. Create a portfolio.
Dec 20, 2023

Can you break into finance without a degree? ›

Entry-level positions are open to candidates with relevant skills, even if their degree is in a different field or they have no degree at all. Financial Analysts perform various tasks that require a background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics.

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