So you're in the middle of studying for this June's CFA exams? You have our condolences. You may already have a finance job, or you may not (especially if you're a student studying CFA Level I). But what are you thinking of doing next? Assuming you pass, where in the world would you like to work and in which area of finance?
Our own data suggests that you might want to take your CFA qualification to Hong Kong. And, that you might want to use it to get ahead in sales.
We looked at the roles currently advertised across the eFinancialCareers network that stipulate a CFA qualification (at any level) in the job description. We then cross-referenced these with the CVs in our global résumé database that include the words 'CFA' as a skill or qualification. The outcomes are shown below.
Notably, there's a surfeit of CFA qualified candidates in Singapore, where there are 36 people with CFA qualifications chasing each CFA job. This compares to 'just' 12 people in Hong Kong.
Equally, our data suggests that you don't want to use your CFA qualification to try for a job in trading: globally there are 55 CFA candidates chasing every trading job that specifies a CFA. By comparison, a CFA looks more useful as a route into sales or risk, for which there are just five and seven CFA qualified candidates per role respectively.
Traditionally, the CFA Charter has been used as a route into buy-side roles. Asset managers and researchers are the main standard bearers for the full CFA Charter: 22% of charterholders are portfolio managers and 15% are researchers according to the CFA Institute. However, possession of a CFA qualification is no guarantee of entry into either profession: globally there are 14 CFA qualified candidates chasing every asset management job that stipulates a CFA and eight chasing every research job.
A CFA will help your finance career. It won't guarantee you a job.