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Where a CFA qualification is most likely to get you a job, and how much you’re likely to earn there

5 December 2015 is the next CFA Level 1 exam day. That leaves candidates less than two weeks in which to prepare. History suggests that only 40% will pass. Among those who do, where in the world are they most likely to find a job?

Based upon figures from our own jobs site and CV database, the answer seems to be – the Americas.

We compared the number of currently advertised jobs with ‘CFA’ in the job description to the number of CVs specifying ‘CFA’ uploaded to our database over the past three months. We didn’t differentiate between jobs for full CFA Charterholders and jobs for candidates who’ve simply passed CFA Level 1 – this is a broad measure of CFA desirability at all levels.

The results made one thing amply clear: simply having the acronym ‘CFA’ on your CV is no guarantee at all of employment in the financial services industry. Globally, there are 23 candidates with CFA on their CVs to every job requiring a qualification. In the Americas, however, this ratio falls to 14:1.

The CFA exams are now immensely popular in Asia. In June 2015, 69,000 Asian candidates sat for the qualifications. This was 43% of the total globally and the largest bloc regionally. However, the Asia Pacific region in general has the highest ratio of CFA qualified candidates to jobs requiring a CFA pass: 29:1, suggesting it’s twice as hard to find a CFA job in APAC as in the Americas.

The good news for APAC CFA candidates is that if they do find a job, it might be well paid. Our data suggests the average salary for a CFA-related role across the Asia Pacific region is US$127k, compared to US$95k in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). CFA roles in the Americas pay the most, however.

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