Starting Salaries for Finance Majors

The starting salaries for finance majors vary greatly depending on the career path. In determining relevant starting salaries, you should consider the actual nature of the job, the industry and the position's growth potential.

1: Jobs

Finance majors have many job options. Some of these include the following positions: bank manager, financial adviser, financial analyst, financial controller, finance manager and chief financial officer. In general the starting salaries for these jobs range from $40,000 to $85,000 per year.

A branch bank manager can expect a beginning salary right around $40,000 per year. A financial advisor is likely to earn $45,000 annually. A financial analyst also earns around $45,000 each year, but if you work in a corporate environment, you could expect to make a little bit more–between $50,000 and $55,000 per year. A financial controller often earns around $80,000 per year, whereas a finance manger generally makes closer to $85,000 annually. Of course the highest-paying jobs are the ones with the greatest responsibility, like a chief financial officer who makes $120,000 per year on average. However, finance majors usually don't start out with such high-ranking positions, unless they start their own businesses.

2: Industries

Just as there are many types of jobs, there are many kinds of businesses that hire finance majors. For instance many local, state and federal governments offer positions to finance majors and provide starting salaries of $45,000 per year.

On the other hand, if you work at a large investment bank like Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs, you could earn six figures in your first year, usually in the form of a salary of around $60,000 to $70,000 with an additional $30,000 to $40,000 in bonuses. But smaller banks offer lower starting salaries. While investment banking tends to be at the high end of the scale, corporate finance tends to be at the lower end, with starting salaries between $50,000 to $60,000.

The pay for other positions like private equity managers and investment brokers fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Real estate is another industry that often hires finance majors for positions like property managers, real estate developers and mortgage brokers. Insurance companies often hire finance majors to help their clients make good decisions about which of their products to buy. In addition you could consider working as a stockbroker or securities analyst for a brokerage firm.

3: Growth Potential

While the starting salaries for finance majors may seem high when compared to other careers, graduates in this field often have to work long hours (between 80 to 100 hours per week) for their salaries.

The nice thing is that the finance profession offers a great deal of earning potential, so someone who started out earning $80,000 a year could reasonably expect to make close to $250,000 after a period of 10 years. However, you are also at risk for being laid off when the market is bad. As a result, the jobs with the greater earning potential also tend to be the ones that are less stable than those that pay lower salaries. The good news is that the number of jobs in finance is expected to increase faster than average for all jobs over the next decade.