As per usual, Saturday’s CFA exam featured plenty of drama for the 227k people who sat for one of the three levels. Crying, claims of cheating and multiple digestive issues highlighted the latest round of exams. But thankfully, they’re over. Test takers can spend the next month waiting for their results wondering what a passing grade can do for their career.
We crunched the numbers in our own CV database to find out a bit more about the value of the qualification – the sectors CFA hopefuls are most likely to work in and the companies that are most willing to employ those who have earned their charter. We also looked at how long you’re likely to have worked in the industry.
Nearly 32,000 people who have uploaded or updated their resume in our database over the past year have either passed one level of the CFA or are full charterholders. Unsurprisingly, asset managers employ the largest number of current and potential CFAs – roughly 21% of people who work at asset management companies have passed at least one level of the exam, up from 16% when we did the analysis a year ago. Pimco, BlackRock and Vanguard hold three of the top five spots in our rankings.
Most other sectors saw their numbers remain static, with the exception of private equity. Around 6% of people who work at PE firms mention their CFA qualification on their resume, up from 4% last year. Private equity firms like KKR, Carlyle Group, Blackstone and Apollo Global Management all made the top 10.
The trend of private equity firms hiring CFAs or asking them to get their charter is a relatively new one. While 6% isn’t a huge number, the increase suggests how desperate PE candidates are to differentiate themselves from the pack considering the difficulty of landing a job in the industry. Adding a CFA charter to the resume seems to be working. Comparatively speaking, a high percentage of people who work in private equity have passed all three exams and earned their charter. The big four PE companies are right up there with asset managers and well ahead of investment banks.
As far as banks go, Goldman Sachs employs the highest percentage of CFA-qualified staffers and full-fledged charterholders. While this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise considering Goldman’s small retail footprint, the percentage of employees who are charterholders is nonetheless impressive. Many investment bankers just pass Level I as a bit of a resume sweetener.
Almost one-third (31%) who have passed at least the first exam have between zero and three years of professional experience. This speaks more to the growing popularity of the qualification. The record for the number of Level I test takers is broken almost every session, including this past one.
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