When most people think of the finance industry, they imagine fancy suits, lavish dinners, and high-value client meetings. This is the case for a certain type of worker, but this is far from the norm.
The finance sector is incredibly diverse, and there are many jobs to choose from. You can be on Wall Street as an investment banker or trader or working at a small or medium-sized firm that isn’t flashy but provides a quality niche service. These two extremes, and everything in between, are why a large number of finance jobs can be fun and interesting – it’s just a matter of finding them.
‘Fun’, ‘enjoyable’, and ‘interesting’ are all subjective, and they will differ from person to person. But, certain jobs tend to tick those boxes for many people.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 of the most enjoyable jobs in the financial services sector and discuss what questions you should ask yourself to find the most fun job for you.
The 10 most enjoyable jobs in finance
Some of the most enjoyable jobs are often the most popular jobs, such as being an investment banker, finance consultant, and trader. However, some unconventional jobs can be equally – if not more – enjoyable, such as military finance officer, environmental accountant, and financial examiner.
Everyone’s choice will be different, but luckily the finance industry has a plethora of job roles available – some you probably haven’t even heard of. But, before we delve into those, let’s look at how to find the most enjoyable job for you.
How to find the most enjoyable job for you
As mentioned earlier, each person will have a different idea of what they deem fun and enjoyable. What might be a dream job for you could be another person’s nightmare. This is why you must first consider your personality, preferences, and habits to narrow down the job selection process to the ones best suited to you and your work style.
It’s important that you are honest with yourself about what you find interesting and what makes you happy. There are some questions you should ask yourself.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Extroverts tend to be outgoing, extremely social, and always open to meeting and talking with people. That’s not to say that introverts aren’t social. It’s just that they can be selective of when and who they want to talk to, and often like alone time to recharge.
Extroverts tend to be better suited to jobs on the ‘front line’ such as investment banking, where they are in contact with people at all times, out in the field making things happen and schmoozing with clients. Introverts tend to prefer job roles that are considered more ‘behind the scenes’.
Do you like routine, or do you get easily bored?
Some jobs in finance can be quite repetitive. It can get monotonous if you’re looking at excel sheets all day or crunching numbers for a client. For some people, this is perfect since they like to know what they’ll be working on each day and can prepare accordingly.
However, for others, this can get tedious. They can get bored easily and need constant stimulation to keep things from becoming stale and mundane. That’s why your preference regarding your job role will dictate which jobs you will find enjoyable and which ones you won’t.
Are you highly tolerant of risk, or are you risk-averse?
If you like to take risks and push the boundaries of what you can achieve, a job that gives you the freedom to do so will be better suited to your personality. This type of job can include trading and consultancy, where with higher risk comes higher reward.
Conversely, if you are more risk-averse and don’t like to rock the ship too much, a job that allows you to stay within strict parameters will be more up your alley.
Do you work better in teams or solo?
Certain jobs require a large amount of teamwork, both within your team and department and also across departments. You need to ask yourself if such a job role is something you would thrive in. If not, you may need to find a job role that allows you more autonomy to work independently.
Are you opposed to working long hours?
Some jobs in the finance sector require employees to work around the clock – particularly in entry-level jobs in fast-paced areas such as investment banking. It’s not uncommon for new recruits to spend 60-70 hours a week to ensure their work gets completed on time, which is not something that everyone is willing to do. You need to decide if you are willing to spend this much time working a job or if you want to prioritise work-life balance.
How high is your stress tolerance?
Some people are better at managing stress than others, and then you have the select few that thrive in high-stress environments as it gets the best out of them. If you are one of these people, then a job like trading may be ideal for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a low-stress job with less pressure, then a role in equity research could be a better match.
Do you want a finance career in the long term?
It’s no secret that the finance sector has some of the highest-paying jobs, and it’s often a major reason why many people get into the financial industry in the first place. But for some people, it’s a short-term career; they want to get in, make as much money as possible, and then exit to join an industry or job role they like.
If a job in finance is simply a stepping stone and CV-builder, then it may make sense to go for a high-paying role from the get-go. However, if this is an industry you would like to remain in for a long time, it may be best to take a slower approach and start in a field you relish that doesn’t burn you out.
These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself. They are a great starting point that can be used to paint a picture of what a fun job looks like to you. In no particular order, below are 10 of the finance sector’s most interesting and enjoyable jobs.
1. Financial Examiner
Financial examiners are tasked with the ethical aspects of a business. They determine whether the company complies with financial laws and regulations by analysing financial records, balance sheets, and documents.
Whilst all job roles have their ups and downs, this job role is perfectly suited for those who have great attention to detail, like stability, and are relatively risk-averse.
2. Investment Banker
Investment banks raise capital for companies and government agencies through stocks, bonds, mergers and acquisitions, and much more. It’s one of the most sought-after financial careers due to its prestige and high salaries.
Having said that, working in an investment bank can be extremely stressful. You are often expected to work long hours and interact with a large number of people to ensure deadlines are met. However, due to the high expectations, it can also be one of the most rewarding jobs out there if these expectations are met and exceeded.
3. Military Finance Officer
Much like the corporate public and private sectors, the military needs qualified finance officers to manage budgets, forecasts, and contracts. Of course, they will spend most of the job behind a desk. However, you may be asked to travel in order to provide financial services to bases located abroad. Whilst you certainly won’t be in the field and in the thick of it, you’ll know that you are still helping your country.
The pay is not to be scoffed at, and you receive great benefits as an armed forces member. It’s a great job for those who are looking for something stable and lucrative and want just enough variety to break up the monotony of desk work.
4. Equity Researcher
Equity research is often viewed as investment banking’s lower-paid, lower-stress cousin. As the name suggests, equity researchers do the necessary research to provide investment banks, investors, and clients with information on whether they should buy, sell, or hold their investments.
This job is considered more enjoyable for those who are analytical-minded and aren’t attracted to the glitz and glam of investment banking. Although it can be a high-pressure job due to the need for high-quality information, it can be equally rewarding if your research is proven correct.
5. Finance consultant
Financial consultants are experts in economic, financial, and investment matters and help small companies, large conglomerates, and everything in between to achieve their financial goals. This can be by assisting with mergers and acquisitions or designing a strategy to increase a company’s bottom line.
Since a consultant works with several clients on short or long-term projects, this is the ideal job for someone with a deep understanding of the financial sector, who loves problem-solving, and who enjoys meeting with various clients. There is also a significant amount of travelling involved with such a role, so if you don’t want to be behind the same desk each day, this could be just what you’re looking for.
6. Portfolio Managers
A portfolio manager is charged with investing in mutual or exchange-traded funds, planning an investment strategy and implementing it, and managing the day-to-day trading of the portfolio. This job is better suited for people who like to see the bigger picture, can analyse markets and trends, and factor in risk management to make optimal decisions.
Traders are perhaps one of the most well-known jobs in corporate finance. Based on their gathered information, they buy and sell stocks, bonds, and funds. They can trade on behalf of an investment fund and hedge fund and can also be expected to create their own client list. It’s notoriously known as a high-stress job due to its demands. Still, it is often considered incredibly enjoyable for those who like to push themselves.
8. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Finance Director
Companies without an appointed CFO will typically have a finance director who manages the financial operations of a business. This can involve strategic planning to make the company more profitable, budgeting, and financial modelling to ensure the financial stability of a company.
Due to the large-scale decisions that need to be made in a company, this job is better suited for those who can manage high-stress loads, who enjoy taking calculated risks and who can work well in a team.
An accountant is responsible for creating, managing, and interpreting a company’s financial records to create reports such as an income statement, balance sheet, tax statement, etc. They can also help a company assess where they should aim to reduce costs to increase their bottom line.
It’s certainly not the most creative job, and a large portion of your day-to-day tasks will involve looking at excel sheets, but for those who enjoy dissecting figures in detail, prefer routine, and like to be behind the scenes, this job can be the perfect match.
10. Environmental Accountant
A job that fits under the accountant umbrella, but has a niche focus, is the role of an environmental accountant. Environmental accountants, also known as green accountants, focus their energy on improving a company’s environmental impact, managing resources, and assessing how this will affect its bottom line, making this an ideal job for someone who’s looking to make a positive impact in the world.