When you ask the average little kid what they want to be when they grow up, many will say an actor, ballplayer, fireman, or doctor. Though some children grow up to fulfill their childhood vocational goals, many of us end up in industries where we have innate skills and talents. For those of us who are good with money, the banking industry is a natural career path.
The Salary and Job Growth of Bankers
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employees of securities, commodities, and financial services are paid quite well: in 2010, they reported a median annual wage of $70,190. Many often receive lucrative bonuses and commissions in addition to their base salary.
While the job growth of the banking industry is expected to jump 15 percent in the next few years, which is around the national average, the demand for investment banking services and commodity traders is expected to create strong employment growth.
The banking industry has another advantage when it comes to the job market: money—at least some version of it—will always be around. Thus, there will always be a need for people who can manage it.
Skills Helpful in the Banking Industry
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, if you have the following skills, the banking industry might just be your bread and butter:
Mathematical Skills: Bankers often need strong math skills, due to the fact that the financial sector involves dealing with large amounts of money. Not only are basic math skills (such as arithmetic) required, but a solid understanding of algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and probability are also important. With strong math skills, you will be better able to solve problems, offer financial advice, and comprehend economic patterns and accounting practices.
Customer Service Skills: Most jobs in the banking industry require constant contact with clients, investors, and customers. For this reason, customer service skills are important. In banking jobs that offer a commission, they are even more important.
Computer Skills: It’s hard to find any industry that doesn’t require some sort of computer skills, banking is no different. Because computers retain people’s financial information, chances are, as a banker, you will be on a computer for a large part of your average day. While you probably don’t need to know how to program or hack around a firewall, skills in data entry, Excel, and fluency in financial software are all important.
Communication Skills: As a banker, you will need to communicate things like service charges, interest rates, stock holdings, and account histories to customers and clients in a manner that they can understand. You may also be expected to articulate things like program benefits or credit restrictions. While communication is important in almost every job, this importance is often compounded when dealing with peoples’ finances (and livelihood).
Realism: There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but now, more than ever, bankers need to be realistic with their customers. According to CNN, in 2008 the US Treasury Department invested approximately $200 billion in order to bailout hundreds of banks. Many of these banks found themselves in hot water for over lending to customers who ended up defaulting on their loans. This over lending caused havoc in the housing market and made a mess of the American economy in the process.
The banking industry can be very rewarding: by helping people start businesses, buy homes, and make big purchases, bankers often help dreams come true. It’s an ideal industry for those who want to use their money skills to make a difference in people’s lives.
Troy Lowell is a freelance writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Those interested in the financial world should take a peek at these business analyst jobs with moneyjobs.com.
Image credit goes to myfuture.com.