Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs in Finance | 2024 (2024)

Finance is a field that often offers lucrative opportunities, but only for those with the right skills and qualifications. When it comes to career choices, one of the key considerations for many individuals is earning potential. In this article, we will explore the top 5 highest paying jobs in finance, their responsibilities, and their average salaries.

5 highest paying jobs in finance

Chief financial officer (CFO)

CFOs play a pivotal role in a company’s financial management. They oversee financial planning, budgeting, and reporting, ensuring the company’s financial health. CFOs also provide strategic guidance to the CEO and board of directors, making critical decisions on investments, mergers, and acquisitions.

  • Career trajectory: To become a CFO, individuals typically start as accountants or financial analysts, gaining experience and expertise in financial management. They may progress through various positions, such as controller or finance director, before being appointed as CFO in a larger organization.
  • Average salary: CFOs are top executives responsible for a company’s financial strategies. Their average salary is $433,088 as of September 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $328,098 and $555,618 annually, depending on the size and industry of the company.

Investment banking

Investment bankers work closely with corporations, governments, and other organizations to help them raise capital by issuing stocks and bonds. They also provide strategic financial advice on mergers, acquisitions, and other financial transactions. This role involves long hours, intense analytical work, and high-pressure situations.

  • Career trajectory: The typical career trajectory in investment banking starts with an entry-level analyst position. Analysts often work for 2-3 years before pursuing higher positions like associates. With experience and proven performance, one can climb the ranks to become a vice president, director, or managing director, where the earnings potential significantly increases.
  • Average salary: Investment bankers are among the highest earners in the finance industry; their average salary is $265,972 as of September 25, 2023, with an average salary ranging from $56,256 to $475,687 per year, not including substantial bonuses.

Hedge fund manager

Hedge fund managers oversee investment funds that aim to generate high returns for their clients, often using sophisticated strategies. Their responsibilities include making investment decisions, risk management, and managing the overall portfolio. Success in this role is directly tied to the fund’s performance.

  • Career trajectory: To become a hedge fund manager, one usually starts as a junior analyst or trader, gaining experience and building a track record. Over time, successful individuals can launch their own hedge funds or be promoted to managing positions in established funds.
  • Average salary: Hedge fund managers on average earn $105,451 annually, depending on the performance of the fund they manage and their profit-sharing arrangements.

Private equity associate

Private equity associates work for investment firms that acquire and invest in private companies. Their role involves conducting due diligence on potential investments, structuring deals, and actively managing portfolio companies to enhance their value. It’s a demanding job that requires strong analytical skills and the ability to identify investment opportunities.

  • Career trajectory: Most private equity associates start their careers as analysts, and with experience, they can move up to become associates and then vice presidents. Some may eventually establish their own private equity firms or become partners in existing ones.
  • Average salary: Private equity associates earn competitive salaries; on average, they earn $118,844 as of September 25, 2023, and their salaries range from $100,050 to $133,078, but the real financial rewards come from performance-based bonuses and profit-sharing arrangements, which can significantly increase their total compensation.

Actuary

Actuaries specialize in risk management and use mathematical and statistical techniques to analyze financial and insurance-related risks. They work for insurance companies, pension funds, and other financial institutions, helping them make informed decisions about pricing, underwriting, and investment strategies.

  • Career trajectory: Aspiring actuaries typically start as entry-level analysts and work towards earning professional actuarial credentials. With experience and additional certifications, they can advance to higher-level positions like senior actuary, chief actuary, or even become consultants in their field.
  • Average salary: Actuaries enjoy a stable and well-paying career, with average salary of $114,075 per year, depending on experience, industry, and location.

Career path for highest paying jobs in finance

This career path requires a combination of education, experience, and specific skills. Here are some steps you can take to pursue this career path:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree: To be hired in this position, most companies require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as finance, accounting, or business. A bachelor’s degree program will provide you with a strong foundation in finance, accounting, economics, and business principles.
  2. Get a master’s degree: While often considered optional, a master’s degree in finance or a related field can be helpful in advancing your career as a finance and reporting analyst. A master’s degree program will provide you with more advanced training in finance and accounting, as well as the opportunity to specialize in a specific area such as financial analysis or corporate finance.
  3. Develop specific skills: In addition to a strong foundation in finance and accounting, finance and reporting analysts should have strong data analysis skills and be proficient in spreadsheet software such as Excel. It is also important to have excellent communication skills in order to effectively present findings and recommendations to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  4. Gain experience: Many finance and reporting analyst positions require some level of relevant experience. This can be obtained through internships, co-op positions, or entry-level finance or accounting roles.
  5. Obtain professional certifications: While not required, obtaining professional certifications such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) can be helpful in advancing your career as a finance and reporting analyst. These certifications require passing exams and meeting certain education and experience requirements.

Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM)

The Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) is a general management program that prepares you for the next level of leadership. This program is created in such a way that it helps transform proven leaders into global executives ready to lead the charge. The Berkeley Executive Program in Management encourages its participants to reflect, enhance strategic thinking, and develop authentic leadership. It is designed to create an immersive, relevant, and dynamic learning experience for senior executives, ready for the next level of the leadership challenge. It includes modules on advanced management competencies, leading innovative change, etc., which are a must for a person in C-level positions to ensure the growth of the company.

Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program (ADP)

The Chicago Booth ADP is a rigorous learning journey across 8 modules spread over 9 months and gives you access to the latest management thinking and tools. It is taught by an award-winning faculty at the Chicago Booth School of Business and accomplished senior business leaders. It creates an amazing opportunity to build a strong personal brand and competitively position yourself and your organization. ADP actively engages you in a collaborative learning environment with accomplished peers in London, New Delhi, and Chicago. The Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program is designed for the global executive with a focus on delivering impact and leveraging the significant history of the Accelerated Development Program delivered across the globe, including London and India.

Conclusion

In the world of finance, earning potential is often directly related to the complexity and responsibility of the job. The top 5 highest paying jobs in finance, including investment banking, hedge fund management, CFO roles, private equity, and actuarial work, all offer substantial financial rewards for those who excel in their respective fields. However, it is essential to remember that these positions also come with significant demands, such as long hours, high-pressure situations, and a competitive landscape. Therefore, individuals considering a career in finance should carefully weigh the potential rewards against the challenges and align their career goals with their interests and strengths. With dedication, education, and experience, these finance careers can offer not only high salaries but also the satisfaction of contributing to the financial well-being of organizations and individuals alike.

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs in Finance | 2024 (2024)

FAQs

What is the highest paid finance job? ›

9 highest paying finance jobs
  • Chief financial officer. ...
  • Private equity associate. ...
  • Hedge fund manager. ...
  • Insurance advisor. ...
  • Financial advisor. ...
  • Compliance analyst. ...
  • Information technology auditor. ...
  • Investment banker. Investment bankers help businesses and government groups invest their money.

What is the best finance major salary? ›

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Finance Degree Jobs in California
Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly Pay
Senior Director Finance$133,162$11,096
Senior Finance Manager$129,317$10,776
Corporate Finance Consultant$126,962$10,580
Remote Finance Manager$126,033$10,502
1 more row

Is finance the highest paying major? ›

No surprise, majoring in engineering and finance yields the biggest paydays five years after graduating college, while majoring in liberal arts or performing arts pays the least.

What is the hardest finance career? ›

Trader is one of the most stressful jobs in finance. Traders may not work quite the crazy hours of investment bankers, but they have a sharper, more acute level of stress.

What finance jobs make millions? ›

Finance roles that typically pay the most include positions such as investment banking managing directors, hedge fund managers, or private equity partners. Chief financial officers (CFOs) of large corporations are also highly paid positions.

Can finance majors make 6 figures? ›

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.

What is the number #1 highest paying major? ›

Engineering is the highest-paying college major, with graduates making $65,000-$80,000 immediately after college.

Which is highest paying jobs in world? ›

Details on the Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs in the World
  1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Topping the list, being a CEO gets you the highest paying job in the world, no matter where you work. ...
  2. Anesthesiologist. ...
  3. General Surgeons. ...
  4. Psychiatrist. ...
  5. Data Scientists.

Does finance pay more than accounting? ›

Both finance and accounting degrees offer a range of well-paying job prospects. That said, the average starting salary is slightly higher for finance vs accounting degrees.

Can you make millions in finance? ›

Increasing Income

There is a reason people in finance who work in private equity or a hedge fund make millions. These industries make money by investing in companies, and after a certain level you get an equity stake in the profits of the firm through carried interest.

Is finance mostly math? ›

Some of the main math-related skills that the financial industry requires are: mental arithmetic (“fast math”), algebra, trigonometry, and statistics and probability. A basic understanding of these skills should be good enough and can qualify you for most finance jobs.

What pays more than investment banking? ›

On an hourly basis, most sales & trading professionals earned a lot more than bankers in 2023. Credit sales & trading professionals earned $147 per hour on average, for instance.

What type of bankers make the most money? ›

10 high-paying investment banking jobs
  • Portfolio manager. ...
  • Investment banker. ...
  • Asset manager. ...
  • Wealth manager. ...
  • Equity trader. ...
  • Equity analyst. ...
  • Hedge fund analyst. ...
  • Foreign exchange trader.

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