Introduction to Entry-Level Finance Salaries

Jan 27, 2024

16 Min Read

1. What are the typical entry-level finance salaries for business and financial operations positions?

The typical entry-level finance salaries for business and financial operations positions vary depending on several factors, such as location, company size, and education level. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for all financial and business operations occupations was $69,820 as of May 2019.

Here are some specific entry-level finance salaries for popular job titles within this category:

– Financial Analyst: The median annual salary for an entry-level financial analyst is around $59,500 according to PayScale. However, this can vary greatly based on location and experience.
– Accountant: The median annual salary for an entry-level accountant is around $51,000 according to PayScale. Again, this can vary based on qualifications and location.
– Financial Advisor: Entry-level financial advisors typically earn a base salary of around $50,000 per year according to Glassdoor. However, they also have the potential to earn commission on top of their base salary.

2. What are some factors that can affect an entry-level finance salary?

There are several factors that can affect an entry-level finance salary, including:
– Location: Salaries can vary widely depending on where you live and work. Cities with a higher cost of living or a concentration of financial firms may offer higher salaries.
– Company size/industry: Larger companies or those in high-growth industries like technology may have more resources to offer higher salaries and better benefits packages.
– Education level/certifications: Candidates with advanced degrees or certifications (such as a CPA or CFA) may be more competitive and command higher salaries.
– Experience/relevant skills: Previous internships, relevant coursework or extracurricular activities, and technical skills (such as proficiency in Excel or coding languages) can make candidates more valuable and justify a higher starting salary.
– Negotiation skills: For many positions in finance, employers expect candidates to negotiate their initial salary. Having strong negotiation skills and researching market rates for the role can help you earn a higher starting salary.

2. How does an individual’s education level or degree impact their starting salary in finance?

In general, an individual’s education level or degree can have a significant impact on their starting salary in finance. Typically, the more advanced the degree and the higher the level of education, the higher the starting salary.

1. Bachelor’s Degree: Most entry-level positions in finance require a bachelor’s degree in fields such as finance, accounting, economics, or business administration. On average, individuals with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn a starting salary between $50,000 to $60,000 in finance.

2. Master’s Degree: A master’s degree in finance or related fields can provide individuals with more specialized knowledge and skills that are highly valued in the finance industry. As such, those with a master’s degree may command a higher starting salary compared to those with a bachelor’s degree. The average starting salary for someone with a master’s degree in finance is around $60,000 to $80,000.

3. MBA: An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is one of the most highly sought-after degrees by employers in the finance industry. This advanced degree can help individuals develop business acumen and leadership skills while also providing them with specialized knowledge in areas such as corporate finance or investment banking. The average starting salary for someone with an MBA in finance is typically around $90,000 to $120,000.

4. PhD: A PhD in finance is one of the highest levels of education one can achieve in this field and is often pursued by individuals seeking careers in academia or research-oriented roles within financial institutions. Those with a PhD may start their career earning around $100,000 or more depending on their area of specialization and type of employer.

Overall, an individual’s education level or degree plays an important role in determining their starting salary in finance as it impacts their knowledge base and skill set that are highly valued by employers. However, other factors such as industry demand and job experience may also impact an individual’s starting salary.

3. What industries offer the highest starting salaries for entry-level finance professionals?

The industries that offer the highest starting salaries for entry-level finance professionals include investment banking, consulting, private equity, corporate finance, and hedge funds. These industries typically have a strong demand for top talent and are willing to pay competitive salaries to attract and retain the best candidates. Additionally, technology and healthcare industries have also been known to offer high starting salaries for finance professionals due to their rapid growth rates and need for financial expertise.

4. Are there any specific skills or certifications that can boost an entry-level finance salary?

Some skills and certifications that can potentially boost an entry-level finance salary include:
– Excel proficiency: Having advanced knowledge of Excel can make you a valuable asset in any finance role, as it is commonly used for financial analysis and data management.
– Data analysis skills: Being able to analyze and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data is crucial in many finance positions, especially those related to financial modeling or forecasting.
– Financial certifications: Pursuing a certification like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can demonstrate your expertise in specific areas of finance and may make you more competitive for certain roles.
– Programming languages: Familiarity with programming languages such as Python, R, or SQL can be highly beneficial for roles that involve working with large datasets or creating automated processes.
– Communication skills: Strong communication skills are essential in any industry, but they are particularly important in finance where you may need to present complex financial information to non-financial colleagues or clients.
Overall, having a diverse skillset and staying updated on current industry trends and advancements can help improve your marketability and potentially lead to higher earning potential as an entry-level finance professional.

5. How much of a salary increase can one expect after a few years of experience in entry-level finance roles?

The salary increase for entry-level finance roles can vary depending on several factors such as industry, company size, job responsibilities, and performance. However, on average, one can expect a salary increase of 3-5% annually with a few years of experience in entry-level finance roles. This may also be accompanied by bonuses or additional benefits such as stock options. As you gain more experience and take on higher-level responsibilities, the potential for salary increases may also increase. It is important to continue developing your skills and knowledge in the field to maximize your earning potential.

6. Do companies typically offer bonuses or other incentives for entry-level finance positions?

It is not common for companies to offer bonuses or other incentives for entry-level finance positions. However, some may offer bonuses or commission-based incentives for sales-related finance roles, such as financial advisors or account managers. Other companies may offer bonuses in the form of stock options, profit-sharing plans, or performance-based rewards for all employees, including entry-level positions. It ultimately depends on the company’s policies and compensation structure.

7. Is there any significant difference in starting salaries between large corporations and smaller businesses in the finance industry?

This answer would require specific data to accurately answer. Factors such as the type of job, geographic location, and experience level could all affect starting salaries in the finance industry. Additionally, individual company policies and compensation structures also play a role in determining starting salaries. Without specific data, it is impossible to determine if there is a significant difference in starting salaries between large corporations and smaller businesses in the finance industry.

8. Are the salaries for entry-level finance positions negotiable during the hiring process?

In most cases, yes, salaries for entry-level finance positions are negotiable during the hiring process. The employer will have a salary range in mind for the position, but there may be some flexibility based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience. If you are interested in negotiating your salary, it is important to do your research and have a clear understanding of the market rate for similar positions. Additionally, highlighting your skills and accomplishments during the interview process can help demonstrate your value and potentially increase your negotiation power.

9. How do geographic location and cost of living affect entry-level finance salaries?

Geographic location and cost of living can have a significant impact on entry-level finance salaries. Here are some ways in which they can affect salaries:

1) High-cost cities: Salaries for entry-level finance positions tend to be higher in cities with a higher cost of living, such as New York City, San Francisco, and Boston. This is because employees need to earn more in order to afford the high cost of living in these areas.

2) Location-specific job market: Certain cities or regions may have a higher demand for finance professionals due to their specific industries or economic conditions. This could lead to higher salaries for entry-level employees compared to other locations.

3) Local competition: In cities with a high concentration of financial institutions, there may be intense competition for top talent. This drives up the salaries and benefits offered by these employers to attract the best candidates.

4) Regional variations in industry sectors: Depending on the main industries in a particular region, entry-level finance roles may pay differently based on demand and supply dynamics. For example, an area with a thriving tech sector may offer higher entry-level salaries for financial analysts than an area with a strong presence in manufacturing.

5) Cost-of-living adjustments: Some companies take into account the cost of living when setting salary ranges for different locations. They may offer lower starting salaries in areas with lower costs of living, such as rural areas, while increasing salaries for employees working in more expensive urban centers.

6) Relocation packages: Companies sometimes offer relocation packages or bonuses to offset any differences in cost of living between an employee’s current location and where they will be relocating for a new job. This could boost an entry-level employee’s overall compensation package.

In summary, geographic location and cost of living play important roles in determining entry-level finance salaries, with high-cost cities generally offering higher starting salaries due to their higher costs of living and competitive job markets.

10. Are there any specific job titles within business and financial operations that tend to have higher starting salaries than others?

There are a few job titles within business and financial operations that tend to have higher starting salaries than others, such as:

1. Financial Analyst: These professionals provide financial guidance and help businesses make sound investment decisions. The average starting salary for a financial analyst is around $60,000, but it can vary depending on location and industry.

2. Management Consultant: Management consultants work with companies to identify solutions to improve their efficiency, performance, and overall profitability. They often have a starting salary of around $75,000.

3. Investment Banking Analyst: Investment banking analysts deal with the financial side of corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs. Their starting salaries can range from $80,000 to over $100,000.

4. Actuary: Actuaries use statistics and mathematical models to assess risk and help companies develop appropriate pricing strategies for products or services. Their starting salaries can be around $70,000 but can increase significantly with experience.

5. Accountant/CPA: Accountants are responsible for managing financial records for individuals or organizations. Starting salaries for accountants typically range from $50,000 to $60,000 but may vary depending on location and experience level.

6. Financial Manager: These professionals oversee a company’s financial operations, including budgeting, forecasting and cash management. The average starting salary for a financial manager is around $90,000.

Ultimately, the specific job titles within business and financial operations that offer higher starting salaries will depend on a variety of factors such as industry demand for the role and geographical location. It’s essential to research the market trends in your desired field to get an accurate understanding of potential salary ranges before accepting a job offer.

11. Does having internship experience prior to joining a full-time role impact an individual’s starting salary in the finance industry?

It is possible that having internship experience prior to joining a full-time role in the finance industry could impact an individual’s starting salary. Internship experience can demonstrate practical skills and knowledge in the field, as well as indicate a level of commitment and interest in the industry. These factors can make a candidate more desirable to employers and may lead to a higher starting salary offer. However, other factors such as education, qualifications, and the specific job responsibilities for the full-time role may also play a significant role in determining starting salary. Ultimately, it will depend on the individual employer and their evaluation of the candidate’s overall qualifications and experience.

12. Are there benefits, aside from salary, that are commonly offered to entry-level finance professionals?

Yes, some common benefits offered to entry-level finance professionals include healthcare and dental insurance, retirement plans such as a 401(k) or pension plan, paid time off for vacation and sick days, flexible work schedules, professional development and training opportunities, employee discounts, and bonuses or performance-based incentives. Some companies may also offer additional perks such as gym memberships, transportation subsidies, or wellness programs.

13. What are some common factors that could lead to a higher entry-level finance salary, such as industry demand or skills shortage?

1. Industry demand: If there is a high demand for finance professionals in a particular industry, the entry-level salary is likely to be higher due to competition for top talent.

2. Location: Salaries can vary based on location as cost of living and demand for finance professionals can differ between cities or regions.

3. Company size and reputation: Large companies with strong financial standing are more likely to offer higher salaries than smaller or less established ones.

4. Education and certification: Holding a relevant degree or certification, such as a CPA or CFA, can increase your marketability and potentially lead to a higher salary.

5. Specialized skills and experience: Finance professionals with specialized skills, such as data analysis or financial modeling, may command a higher salary due to their in-demand expertise.

6. High-demand positions: Certain roles within the finance industry, such as investment banking or risk management, tend to have higher salaries due to their criticality and level of responsibility.

7. Shortage of candidates: In some cases, there may be a shortage of qualified candidates for certain finance positions, leading companies to offer higher salaries in order to attract top talent.

8. Performance bonuses and incentives: Many finance positions offer performance-based bonuses and incentives that can significantly increase an entry-level salary.

9. Salary negotiation skills: Candidates who are able to negotiate well during the hiring process may secure a higher starting salary than those who do not negotiate effectively.

10. Cost-saving measures: As the finance function becomes increasingly important in cutting costs and improving profitability for businesses, employers may be willing to offer more competitive salaries in order to secure top talent who can help achieve these goals.

11. Market trends and competition: As with any job market, entry-level finance salaries may be influenced by overall market trends and competition within the industry among employers vying for top talent.

12. Demand for specific skills/technologies: The rise of technology in the finance industry has created a demand for professionals with expertise in areas such as data analytics, blockchain, and artificial intelligence, potentially leading to higher salaries for those with these skills.

13. Economic conditions: A strong economy can create more opportunities and competition for finance talent, potentially leading to higher entry-level salaries.

14. Is it possible to start at a higher salary as an entry-level professional if one has relevant work experience in another field?

It is possible to negotiate a higher salary as an entry-level professional if you have relevant work experience in another field, but it ultimately depends on the company and their policies. Some companies may have set salaries for entry-level positions regardless of previous work experience, while others may be open to negotiations based on your skills and experience. It is always worth having a conversation with the hiring manager during the negotiation process to see if they are willing to consider your previous work experience and offer a higher starting salary.

15. Does a candidate’s GPA or academic standing play a role in determining their starting salary in the finance sector?

It is possible that a candidate’s GPA or academic standing may play a role in determining their starting salary in the finance sector. However, this may vary depending on the specific company or organization and their individual hiring policies. Some companies may value academic achievement and consider it when determining salary, while others may focus more on work experience and skills. Overall, a candidate’s overall qualifications and potential for success in the role will likely have the most impact on their starting salary in the finance sector.

16. Are there any differences in pay between entry-level analysts and associates within the same company or industry?

Yes, there can be differences in pay between entry-level analysts and associates within the same company or industry. Factors that can impact salary differences include level of experience, education, job responsibilities, performance, and location. Entry-level analysts typically have less experience and may have lower salaries compared to associates who may have several years of experience and a higher level of responsibility. However, this can vary depending on the specific company and industry. Some companies may offer higher starting salaries for entry-level analysts with advanced degrees or relevant internships while others may provide similar compensation for both positions. Additionally, location can also play a role as some cities or regions may offer higher salaries for certain positions.

17 .Are there any gender pay gaps found within entry-level finance positions, and if so, what is being done to address this issue?

Unfortunately, there are still significant gender pay gaps found within entry-level finance positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women working in financial specialist roles make only 70% of what their male counterparts make, and women in financial analyst roles make only 81% of men’s earnings.

To address this issue, many companies have implemented policies and initiatives such as salary transparency and pay equity audits to ensure fair and equal compensation for all employees. Additionally, some companies have adopted inclusive hiring practices to promote diversity and reduce biases in the recruitment process. Government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also play a role in enforcing laws against pay discrimination based on gender. Continued efforts and conversations around pay equity are essential in closing the gender pay gap in finance positions.

18 .How do performance reviews and promotions factor into an individual’s career growth and salary progression in finance?

Performance reviews and promotions play a crucial role in an individual’s career growth and salary progression in finance. These processes provide opportunities for professionals to demonstrate their skills, expertise, and contributions to the organization, which can lead to increased responsibilities, recognition, and compensation.

Here are some ways that performance reviews and promotions impact career growth and salary progression:

1. Recognition of performance: Performance reviews allow employers to assess an individual’s performance based on specific criteria such as job knowledge, quality of work, problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and teamwork. Positive feedback from these reviews can boost an employee’s confidence and motivate them to continue excelling in their roles.

2. Opportunity for advancement: Promotions are typically given to individuals who have performed consistently well in their current roles or have demonstrated the potential for higher-level positions. This provides employees with the opportunity to take on new challenges, develop additional skills, and advance their careers within the organization.

3. Salary increases: As individuals take on more responsibilities through promotions or demonstrate exceptional performance through performance reviews, they may become eligible for salary increases. This is often tied to the company’s overall financial success but can also be influenced by individual achievements.

4. Career development: Performance reviews often include discussions about an employee’s career goals and development plans. Based on this information, organizations may offer training opportunities or mentorship programs to help employees achieve their career aspirations. Promotions also involve taking on new responsibilities and may require professional training or education to ensure success in the new role.

5. Attracting top talent: Companies that offer regular performance evaluations and opportunities for promotion tend to attract top talent in the market. This is because professionals seek out organizations that value employee growth and recognize their contributions through regular feedback and advancement opportunities.

In summary, both performance reviews and promotions are essential components of an individual’s career growth in finance. They provide avenues for recognition of achievements, career development opportunities, salary progression, and attracting top talent.

19. Are there any notable differences in pay between traditional brick-and-mortar companies and startups in the finance industry?

It is difficult to make a general comparison between traditional brick-and-mortar companies and startups in the finance industry as there are many variables that can influence pay, such as location, role, experience and specific company policies. However, some notable differences may include:

1. Salary structure: Traditional brick-and-mortar companies tend to offer more structured salaries with predetermined salary ranges for different roles and levels of experience. In startups, compensation packages may be more flexible and variable based on performance and company success.

2. Equity compensation: Startups often offer equity compensation in addition to salary as a way to attract top talent and incentivize employees to contribute to the company’s growth. This is less common in traditional companies.

3. Bonus structure: Bonuses at traditional companies are typically linked to annual performance goals set by the company, while bonuses at startups may be tied to achieving specific milestones or targets.

4. Benefits: Traditional brick-and-mortar companies often have more established benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks like childcare assistance or gym memberships. Startups may not have these benefits available or they may differ in terms of coverage or contribution from the employer.

5. Risk vs stability: Working for a startup can involve higher levels of risk compared to a traditional finance company with an established track record and stable financials. This increased risk can be reflected in lower base salaries but potential for higher rewards through equity or profit-sharing options if the startup is successful.

Overall, it is important to consider the specific factors relevant to each company when comparing pay between traditional brick-and-mortar companies and startups in the finance industry.

20. How do entry-level finance salaries compare to other industries with high-demand positions for recent graduates?

Entry-level finance salaries can vary depending on the specific role and industry, but in general, they tend to be higher than many other industries with high-demand positions for recent graduates. This is due to the complex nature of finance and the high level of technical skills and knowledge required in this field.

Some examples of high-demand industries for recent graduates include technology, healthcare, engineering, and consulting. According to a 2020 report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), these industries had average starting salaries ranging from $62,065 (healthcare) to $71,000 (engineering). In comparison, the average starting salary for entry-level financial analysts was $68,900 in 2020 according to Glassdoor.

Additionally, finance roles often offer higher potential for bonuses and commissions based on performance compared to other industries. This can significantly increase a finance professional’s overall compensation package.

However, it’s essential to note that salaries can also vary among different specialization areas within finance. For example, investment bankers typically earn higher salaries than financial advisors or budget analysts. Factors such as location and company size can also affect entry-level salaries in the finance industry.


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