Is Major Banks a Good Career Path?

Is major banks a good career path? If you’re fascinated with money and how it works, or if you’re simply looking to begin a career with plenty of earning potential, then, major banks could be just the ticket. Of course, you’ll need to know a few things before embarking on a career in this sector.

What Are Major Banks?

Banks come in all shapes and sizes, from local banks, with a handful of branches to national and global banks. Major banks are national or global brands that offer a broad range of products and services to their clients. There are even digital banks such as Wise and others.

We’re not just talking about checking and savings accounts. These banks can offer investment opportunities, branded credit cards, multiple loan products, and so much more. According to LexisNexis, some of the top banks in the world include:

  • BNP Paribas SA (ranked #5 in the world)
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association (ranked #6 in the world)
  • Bank of America National Association (ranked #9 in the world)
  • Wells Fargo Bank National Association (ranked #17 in the world)
  • Deutsche Bank AG (ranked #21 in the world)
  • Barclays Bank PLC (ranked #22 in the world)

Why Is Major Banks a Good Career Path?

Wondering what makes working with one of the world’s leading banks a good idea? You’ll find plenty of reasons.

For one thing, the banking industry is one of the most stable in the world, with little in the way of churn that leads to layoffs and downsizing as you see in other industries. Another is that there are plenty of job opportunities, whether you’re just entering the workforce or you’re a seasoned professional in search of a new challenge.

If you’re someone who craves a consistent schedule, enjoys interacting with others, is fascinated with money and how it works, and pays close attention to detail, you could find a very rewarding career path here. In a nutshell, major banks can offer:

  • Stability
  • Good pay
  • Good benefits
  • A career path from entry-level to advanced options
  • Interest-based employment or earnings-based employment

How Many Jobs Are Available in Major Banks?

One major consideration when choosing the right career path is the number of jobs available within the industry. The fewer jobs, the more competition there will be, making it harder to land your dream position. The more jobs available, the more in-demand those skills are and the easier it will be to find a position for the long term.

The federal government predicts the banking and finance sector will experience sustained, ongoing growth over the next several years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS) points out that “overall employment in business and financial occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031”.

That growth means almost 1 million openings each year. Of course, this is an incredibly broad employment sector, with positions ranging from accountants and auditors to financial analysts and financial examiners to name just a handful.

We can break that down a bit more granularly. Zippia reports that almost 150,000 people currently work as “bankers” within the United States, and most of those are men (54% compared to 46%). However, “banker” is just one job role within major banks and does not include supporting positions, security positions, analyst positions, customer service jobs, and others.

How Much Do Major Banks Pay?

The pay range with major banks varies dramatically based on your position. For instance, an entry-level bank teller might earn $31,000 per year. However, a chief financial officer might earn $140,000 per year. A financial analyst could receive $84,000 per year. Your earning potential varies based on the following factors:

  • Your position with the bank
  • Your relevant experience
  • Your education
  • The bank in question
  • Your geographic location (where the bank is physically located)

What Are the Best Jobs with Major Banks?

Major banks offer an incredible diversity of job opportunities to fit any interest or skill set. Whether you’re a people person or you have an analytical turn of mind, there’s a position for you with major banks. This will answer is a major banks a good career path for you. Some of the best jobs in the banking industry include the following:

  • Financial Analyst – Financial analysts earn a median annual salary of just over $81,000 according to the US BLS. In this role, you’ll focus on helping clients make informed decisions regarding their investments. You might work with consumers or with businesses, and you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, some major banks may require you to have a master’s degree or even a focus on accounting.
  • Personal Financial Advisor – A personal financial advisor does precisely what it sounds like: they help individuals manage their finances to meet specific goals. This includes saving for retirement and a child’s college education but can include other goals. You will need a solid understanding of financial planning, taxes, and related matters. The median annual salary here is around $94,000.
  • Relationship Manager – A relationship manager works for the bank and helps build strong, lasting relationships with consumers and business account holders. You’ll need an excellent understanding of human psychology, as well as the bank’s products and services. It’s all about connecting the dots between a customer’s needs and how the bank can help. Relationship manager salaries vary considerably, but the median is around $86,000.
  • Accountant – Accountants’ work can fill many roles within major banks, but all jobs will focus on evaluating business expenses and income, analyzing those factors, and then creating strategies to help achieve optimal outcomes while minimizing tax liability and maximizing profitability. The median annual salary here is around $77,000, but your certification level and position will play a big role in what you earn.
  • Auditor – Auditors focus on compliance within the bank and within customer accounts. They understand local, state, and federal laws and ensure that the bank always complies with them. In some cases, this is a move from being an accountant, but you can often move directly into an auditor position with a bachelor’s degree. Auditors earn a median annual salary of $77,000.
  • Branch Manager – A branch manager is responsible for the daily operations and personnel at a specific bank branch. They report to a district or regional manager, handle hiring and firing within the branch, and are responsible for making day-to-day operating decisions. Note that branch managers need more than a degree. You will likely need to pass the FINRA series 6 or 7 exams. Branch managers earn a median annual salary of $61,000.
  • Assistant Manager – An assistant manager works with the branch manager to help offset some of the administrative burdens. You may have input into hiring and firing employees, work with scheduling, and more. Note that assistant managers may require only a bachelor’s degree but may also have to pass FINRA’s exams. The median annual salary here is around $51,000.
  • Bank Teller – Bank teller is usually an entry-level position that requires only a high school diploma. However, advancing to higher positions will require you to earn another degree or complete additional certifications. You’ll work directly with customers, handle cash and checks, provide customer service, and more. From this position, you can move up to become a senior teller, become a loan officer, or even advance to branch manager with the right education and training. The average annual salary is around $36,000.

Note that if you’re interested in the highest earning potential, the best jobs with major banks tend to be in management or analysis. However, if you’re looking for a position that is both financially and personally rewarding, consider starting with an entry-level position and then working your way up.

It’s also important to understand that the best jobs in major banks require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and many will require a higher degree. Some will also require specialized credentials and relevant job experience (such as cybersecurity).

What Are the Requirements to Work with Major Banks?

Just as major banks offer a wide range of career opportunities, the various positions on offer come with different requirements in terms of education and previous experience. Note that there is no one-size-fits-all rule here. Some positions may require no education or experience, while others will require multiple years in the financial industry, as well as a high-level degree.

For instance, you will likely only have to pass a background check to become a bank teller. However, if you want to become a relationship manager, you’ll need experience in both finance and customer service, as well as at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Becoming a fraud analyst will require education and experience in criminal investigations, identifying fraud, pattern analysis, and more.

As a note, most positions within major banks will require at least a bachelor’s degree, with the exception of bank teller, which is an entry-level position and usually requires only a high school diploma. Even as a teller, though, you’ll eventually need to earn a degree to move up to a higher position.

For many, that means the best possible starting point is to earn a bachelor’s degree, with a focus on your primary area of interest within banking. That might be finance, but it could also be security, fraud, or something else. Some of the most popular courses include:

  • Mathematics-focused courses
  • Information technology courses
  • Corporate law courses
  • International business courses

What Skills Are Necessary to Work with Major Banks?

Earning a degree is not enough to get your foot in the door with most major banks. You’ll also need to develop the right skills. Working in the banking industry requires a mixture of hard and soft skills to ensure that you can handle the responsibilities of your position, as well as deal with other employees/team members and customers. Some of the most important skills to develop and list on your resume include the following:

  • Confidence – Confidence is important in customer service, but it’s also essential in leadership/management positions. It can also be an important skill in non-management positions.
  • Determination – Determined people push forward despite obstacles and challenges. This can serve you well in all areas of banking, from cybersecurity to customer service and analysis.
  • Communication – Solid written and verbal communication skills are essential in all roles within major banks. Note that you should also learn to read body language, particularly if you’re interested in a role where you’ll be dealing with other people, whether those are customers or employees.
  • Problem-Solving – Every employee needs good problem-solving abilities. You’ll be faced with challenges every day and the ability to find creative ways around those hurdles will help you enjoy your job, and also show that you have the potential to move up within the bank.
  • Trustworthiness – It’s difficult to think of a skill that’s more important to a career in major banks than trustworthiness. You’ll be dealing with money, people’s personal financial information, business financial data, and other sensitive information and must be trusted to safeguard it.
  • Customer Service – Many jobs with major banks will require dealing with customers, whether you’re a bank teller, an account manager, a loan officer, or something else. Good customer service skills are essential to success in this career.
  • Teamwork – No matter what your role might be within a bank, you’ll be part of a team and required to work well with others. Good communication, empathy, an understanding of the command chain, and a commitment to ethics will help here.
  • Attention to Detail – Other than trustworthiness, the most important skill to develop for a career in major banks is attention to detail. This is as true for bank tellers as for analysts and assessors.

In Conclusion

Is major banks a good career path? It can be, certainly. The banking industry offers stability, as well as the opportunity to explore many different career options. If you enjoy helping customers, are good with numbers, have an eye for patterns, or simply enjoy the financial industry, you may find a rewarding career path here. Ready to explore your options? Check out the job opportunities offered by some of today’s major banks and then plot your career path.