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Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents Job Outlook

Employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is expected to grow 15 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The financial services industry experienced some consolidation because of the recent financial crisis, but the industry has resumed growth. Overall, employment in the finance and insurance industry is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020. 

Financial regulation, including restrictions on proprietary trading, may create a shift of employment among traders from investment banks to hedge funds, however, overall employment growth for the occupation should not be affected.

Services that investment bankers provide, such as helping with initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions, will continue to be in demand as the economy grows. The United States remains an international financial center, meaning that the economic growth of countries around the world will contribute to employment growth in the American financial industry.

In addition, employment growth should be particularly strong for commodities brokers and traders. Trading in commodities markets has increased substantially in recent years, driven by large group investors, such as retirement funds, entering the market. As the number of transactions increases in commodities trading, such as oil futures, employment of commodities sales agents will increase to meet this demand. 

Although employment growth for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents as a whole is expected to be strong, the use of online stock trading sites will restrict growth for stock brokers. As clients themselves conduct transactions online, the need for stock brokers will diminish.   

Job Prospects

The high pay associated with securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents draws many more applicants than there are openings. Therefore, competition for jobs is intense.

Certification and a graduate degree, such as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification and a master’s degree in business or finance, can significantly improve an applicant’s prospects. For entry-level jobs, having an excellent grade-point average (GPA) in college is important.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition