The Review — 30/12/2015 at 12:46

CFA, MBA, ACA, ACCA or CIMA – which will get you a job that pays?

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Which qualification is most likely to get you a job in financial services now? And more pointedly, which qualification is most likely to get you a finance job that will pay you well?

We looked at the number of candidates with particular qualifications who’ve recently submitted their CVs to our resume database in Europe. We then compared that to the number of roles currently being advertised on eFinancialCareers specifying each qualification in their job description.

The results suggest that the ACA accountancy exams, run by the ICAEW, are still most likely to get you a finance job in Europe. According to our analysis, there are approximately three ACA candidates per job requiring an ACA in Europe. That’s pretty good considering that the comparable ratios for candidates with an MBA or Masters qualification are 39 and 96 to one respectively. However, average pay for an ACA in Europe is ‘just’ £68k. By comparison, if you want to go for a job which pays you well, you should study an MBA – finance jobs specifying an MBA pay an average of £125k, but you’ll be up against 39 other candidates.

Our findings are presented in the charts below. In the meantime, here’s a quick qualification-by-qualification summary of the results:

Jobs and pay with CFA qualifications

Our analysis suggests there are 27 candidates with ‘CFA’ mentioned on their CVs per finance job that requires a CFA qualification. On average, jobs specifying a CFA qualification pay £60k.

As we’ve noted before, the jobs you’ll do with a CFA are typically in asset management, equities, fixed income, or research. CFA qualified individuals are less likely to work in M&A or private equity, for example. The analysis does not differentiate between people who’ve passed the CFA Level I exams and those who are full CFA Charterholders.

Jobs and pay with an MBA

Our analysis suggests there are 39 candidates with MBA mentioned on their CVs for each finance job that requires an MBA.  On average, jobs specifying an MBA pay £125k.

MBAs in financial services are more likely to work in IBD (M&A or capital markets) than in sales and trading. Although the ratio of qualified MBAs to jobs requiring MBAs is high, MBAs from top business schools are far more employable than those from little-known institutions. Newly qualified MBAs typically enter banking as ‘associates’ at the end of their programs. One large U.S. bank recentlyincreased salaries for its third year MBAs to £120k, which helps to explain why pay for MBAs is so lavish.

Jobs and pay with an ACA

Our analysis suggests there are 3 candidates with ACA mentioned on their CVs for each finance job that requires an ACA.  On average, jobs specifying an ACA pay £68k.

ACAs typically qualify with Big Four Accountancy firms and hired by investment banks to work in areas like product control. However, in times of shortage, ACAs are also hired for areas like equity research or M&A. The low ratio of candidates to jobs on offer reflects the breadth of opportunities on offer for ACAs. However, the low figure for average pay suggests most of the ACA opportunities are in banks’ accounting functions.

Jobs and pay with an ACCA

Our analysis suggests there are 10 candidates with ACCA mentioned on their CVs per finance job that requires an ACCA.  On average, jobs specifying an ACA pay £64k.

If you have an ACCA you will typically find it difficult to get a job in equity research or other front office areas of an investment bank. ACCA qualified candidates are sought after for banks’ finance functions.

Jobs and pay with a CIMA qualification 

Our analysis suggests there are 6 candidates with CIMA mentioned on their CVs to each finance job that requires a CIMA pass. On average, jobs specifying an CIMA qualification pay £66k.

CIMA qualified candidates are most likely to work in management accounting roles in banks.

Jobs and pay with a Masters qualification 

Our analysis suggests there are 96 candidates with ‘Masters’ mentioned on their CVs per finance job that requires a Masters in Europe.  On average, jobs specifying a Masters qualification pay £75k.

Banks are deluged with Masters candidates. However, as with MBAs, people who gain their Masters qualification from a top university will stand out from the crowd and should find it far easier to find a role than our figures suggest. Masters-qualified individuals typically go into entry-level, risk or quantitative roles in banks and hedge funds.

Jobs and pay with a PhD

Our analysis suggests there are 10 candidates with a PhD mentioned on their CVs for each finance job that requires a PhD in Europe.  On average, jobs specifying a PhD pay £96k.

If you have a PhD in a finance or mathematically related area, you may be able to find a role in a hedge fund or in a bank’s risk or quantitative finance business. Notably, PhDs earn substantially more than Masters candidates – those extra years of study are worth it.

Qualifications that will get you a finance job in Europe 

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efinancialcareers.com


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