Finance hiring isn’t booming, but that doesn’t mean no one is getting hired. For a certain select number of entry-level and experienced folks, there are positions available in finance specialties that are growing. We highlight the three biggest opportunities.
The housing market is growing again with interest rates at record lows, bringing with it the need for loan documentation specialists and mortgage underwriters, according to experts from Randstad Finance and Accounting, a U.S. recruiting firm based in Woburn, Massachusetts. Large banks such as Wells Fargo are leveraging their mortgage businesses to support other, less stable units, leading other firms, such as Bank of America, to rededicate themselves to home loans.
Residential mortgage volumes at J.P. Morgan increased roughly 42% in the fourth quarter of 2012, driving the bank to a successful final three months of the year despite troubles in other businesses. The number of mortgage applications filed in the U.S. increased by 45% in the week ended Jan. 11, according to MarketWatch.
Tighter credit standards and new regulations imposed since the financial crisis have made the mortgage lending process more complex, forcing firms to actively recruit professionals capable of processing home appraisals, credit checks and supplementary paperwork.
Loan documentation specialists are needed on the ground level to assess the needs of customers, collect and verify data, and process loan applications. Those with a strong working knowledge of the overall loan process, rather than people with just the ability to evaluate and modify existing loans, will be the most highly sought after, said Glenn Dubiel, executive vice president of professional services at Randstad. The latter skillset is becoming less critical as banks have already churned through many loans that went sour during the financial crisis.
The job doesn’t pay much, between $18 and $25 per hour, according to Randstad, but it provides an opportunity for a recent graduate to get a foothold in the business and climb to a more advanced position, such as a mortgage underwriter.
Mortgage underwriters were a hot commodity even before the housing turnaround, said Dubiel. “Clients can’t get enough of these people. They’re always in high demand.”
Underwriters, which evaluate the risk of offering a mortgage loan to a customer, earn more, with annual compensation nearing $80,000, Dubiel said.
The good news is higher standards have made jobs in the mortgage business more interesting. No longer pencil pushers filing paperwork, mortgage workers “are interfacing with clients and other departments more each year – it’s paramount to have people skills,” Dubiel said. The jobs are “more interesting than they were before,” he said.
Whether leading up to tax season or not, accounting firms are always looking for fresh talent. Ernst & Young expects to hire more than 10,000 experienced and entry-level financial services employees in the U.S., plus an additional 20,000 globally, during the 2013 fiscal year ending in June.
Other large firms are following suit, along with non-accounting companies that need internal help, Dubiel said. “If you have the skills, and you’re good at, you’ll always be in demand.”
To make it as an accountant, you’ll likely need to get into the business out of school after earning a degree in the field, according to Dubiel. “I don’t think there are enough people who want to get into accounting [at that early an age] so there is a high demand there.”
Unlike the mortgage business, accountants don’t have much human interaction, said Dubiel, but with taxes not going anywhere, it’s as secure a financial position as you’ll find.
With the complexity of the current economy, financial analysts are expected to be in demand in 2013, according to Randstad. “We’re seeing an increased demand for financial analysts, particularly with budgeting and forecasting skills,” Dubiel said.
The number of financial analyst openings is expected to increase by 23% in the current decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pay range is wide, but the average salary hovered around $75,000 in 2010, the last year statistics were made available.