What must you do to increase your employability if you want to work in financial services today? Is it worth embarking on a financial services Masters in Finance or MSc, on a Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF), a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation, or maybe a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification?
Our research suggests there are plenty of financial services job seekers with these qualifications who are already out there looking for jobs. If you want to differentiate yourself, you'll need to acquire a qualification that's a bit different.
Which qualification exactly? We looked at the CVs that were uploaded globally into the eFinancialCareers database over the past three months and compared these to the jobs currently advertised globally on the site. The graph below presents the results. The qualifications at the bottom of the chart - those for which there are comparatively few CVs per job - are those which should render you most employable.
As ever, having an ACA Chartered Accountancy Qualification looks most likely to differentiate your CV - we have only 3.4 recently uploaded resumes with the ACA qualification to every job specifying an ACA as a prerequisite. Nonetheless, as we said last week, knowing how to programme in C# looks like the best bet for getting a job in banking now. There are only three recently uploaded C# CVs per currently advertised job. This compares to over 100 CVs per job for people with an MSc, nearly 60 with the CQF and 24 CVs per job specifying the CFA exams.
Perversely, our data suggests that having a full CFA Charter won't make you any more employable than if you simply have any kind of CFA qualification. There are comparatively few jobs specifying the full CFA Charter compared to the number of people with the full CFA Charter mentioned on their CVs.
The poor figures for MScs show just how hard it is to differentiate yourself as a student looking for a finance job now. Even after you've spent £20k ($34k+) on a Masters qualification, you'll still be competing with over 100 other people for the available roles. Similarly, having any old MBA won't do you much good - there are 27 finance professionals with MBAs chasing each MBA-requiring job. However, if you have an MBA from a top school (defined as London Business School, INSEAD, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia or IESE) and you're chasing a job specifying an MBA, you'll only have six other competitors with an MBA of a similar calibre. Banks like to hire from the elite.