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Please note: If you achieve a CFA Charter, you are statistically very unlikely to become unemployed

They did not take the CFA Charter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They did not take the CFA Charter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the 50th birthday of the CFA Charter. Someone, somewhere will be having cake and completing a celebratory item-set. If you’re really keen, the CFA has published a book, ‘The Gold Standard: A Fifty-Year History of the CFA Charter.’

Amidst all the party-popping celebrations and backslapping, one important statistic is worth noting – especially in the current climate. There are now 100,000 full CFA Charterholders globally (ie. people who completed and passed CFA exams 1, 2 and 3) and according to the CFA Institute’s own figures only 4% of them are unemployed at any time.

Nor does there appear to be much variation in the CFA Charterholder unemployment rate between country. As the chart below demonstrates, the CFA Institute says the highest proportion of unemployed charterholders are to be found in Russia and France, where 5% are without work. In most cities, in most countries, CFA Charterholders are not being made redundant.

Source: CFA Institute 

As a logical corollary, it would seem reasonable to assume that the full CFA Charter, not simply Level 1 or Level 2, might act as some sort of force field to prevent you losing your job.


However, other factors may also be at play. Most notably, a large proportion of CFAs (23% globally) are portfolio managers, for whom redundancy tends to be less of an issue anyway. Anecdotally, one asset management headhunter tells us she has certainly seen redundant full charterholders, but she can’t recall how many.

Will the CFA’s miraculous redundancy-repelling effects persist in future? Who knows. However, it seems likely that the more prevalent full charterholders become, the less protected they will be. The CFA proudly notes that another 149,000 people will be taking its Level 1, 2 and 3 exams this weekend. Last year, 9,000 new CFA Charterholders were created.  Is it really the case that only 360 of them are currently out of work?

(eFinancialCareers site visitors in Asia have asked questions about the CFA Charter to the local MD of 7City training. Click here to see their conversation).

Comments (3)

  1. I am in this situation, having unemployed for 18 months (my profile is quite specific). However the CFA offers a discount to unemployed members. I pay $100 a year for the retired status (I am 36) and I get interesting magazines. It is the last link I have with the investment world in addition to my savings, it makes me still fell part of the club.

  2. I have been unemployed for three years, looking for unpaid placements or internships like graduates despite my 15 years of investing experience. I also write in Financial Newspapers. CFA is like latin, it is nice to have but it won’t help you get a job. With Brexit, learn German and French, not the CFA.

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