The financial services sector is comprised of a vast swath of economic entities, from retirement and investment companies to mortgage brokers and banks. A financial good is anything that has to do with money—it could be a stock, bond or mutual fund; it could be an asset like a car or home, or it could be something that provides protection against a loss (like life, auto, or property insurance). Financial services providers make these financial goods available to consumers, and also provide the support services that go along with them. This includes global payment systems like Visa and Mastercard, debt resolution companies and exchanges that facilitate stock, derivative and commodity trades.
Unlike most industries, the financial services industry is notoriously difficult to break into. Many jobs are highly specialized and require advanced degrees. As such, it’s important to develop a strong network before applying for positions. This can be done by establishing connections with individuals who can act as a reference or mentor, and by seeking out entry-level roles that will allow you to learn and grow your skillset on the job.
The benefits of working in financial services include the opportunity to gain a variety of skills that can be transferable to other careers. Additionally, most financial service companies value their employees and often promote from within based on merit. However, the hours can be intense, and work-life balance is sometimes impossible. Many financial services jobs are also heavily regulated, which can hamper innovation and growth.