Top financial career jobs and evolution of finance industry

man working on laptop in finance job
man working on laptop in finance job

Finance industry insights: emerging finance jobs and the evolution of the finance industry

In recent times, the finance industry has rapidly evolved. The demand for technical skills and soft skills in finance has transformed the industry. As technical skills such as quantitative analysis, market forecasting and technological literacy continue to grow, employers are seeking financial experts with soft skills such as strong negotiation, critical thinking and influencing, as they can benefit businesses and provide the greatest return on investment.

Whether you’re thinking of upskilling your current role or changing your profession, this article guides you on your journey to a career in finance.

Let’s explore the evolution of the finance industry and its emerging jobs.


The evolution of the finance industry and finance jobs

In the last few decades, the finance industry has been through some transformational changes.

In 2008, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) saw the failure of financial firms that had been around for generations. In the years that followed, interest rates around the world fell to zero, and financial regulators strengthened their oversight of banks and other financial institutions.

A decade later, the banking royal commission in Australia revealed that our banks had prioritised profits while breaching responsible lending laws[1]. The commission’s final report included 76 recommendations to improve the finance industry – about a third have since become law. Throughout this period FinTech companies have multiplied, focusing their technology on specific financial problems while disrupting legacy financial institutions.

Finance jobs disrupt business models

Currently, new finance jobs are disrupting traditional business models. From contactless payment and crowdfunding to share trading apps and neo banks, FinTechs have driven the evolution of traditional finance jobs to create a suite of new finance career paths. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Work 2020 report, 50 per cent of current finance jobs will evolve into new roles. Some careers in FinTech have been replicated by legacy financial institutions, while others have been outsourced as part of the ever-expanding finance industry.

How the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the finance industry

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 massively disrupted the finance industry on a global scale, making finance one of the most significant industries to pursue a career in. For example, businesses and staff have been forced to adapt to remote or hybrid-type working arrangements in an online environment. The shift to online banking through rapid digital transformation and changing consumer behaviours in financial institutions means that customers and employees are increasingly dependent on online systems.

As a result, the finance industry must continue advancing to ensure secure and uninterrupted business operations and to better serve customers who have grown accustomed to the speed and convenience of online banking and online systems.


An overview of contemporary financial industry trends

According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, despite the uncertainty and major economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global financial system has remained resilient.

As the forecast for the future becomes more optimistic, emerging economies are at more risk financially from further COVID-19 virus outbreaks, while established economies are watching house prices and mortgage values rise like in Australia[2].

As a result, the combination of financial sector growth, changing consumer behaviours and evolving careers in finance has created a skills shortage. According to PwC, the upskilling challenge is so significant that businesses in the finance industry cannot manage it on their own.

How finance careers can support the ageing population

Beyond the pandemic, the financial industry in Australia is responding to the demographic changes of the ageing population. A recent study found that between 1987 and 2015, the real mortgage debt of Australians aged 55+ had increased by 600 per cent. Whether borrowing, saving, spending or investing, finance plays a key role when dealing with the ageing population by ensuring there are appropriate financial products and services in place to meet the needs of older people.

Employees with a specialist knowledge of managing financial affairs for older people will be in high demand.

In the coming years, The Australian Industry and Skills Committee forecasts an increased demand for health insurance, superannuation and financial advice. As more Australians retire, the amount of superannuation assets held in the retirement phase will increase[3].

FinTech entrepreneurship, finance skills and technology

As the use of technology increases, the demand for these technological skills is expected to rise. FinTech entrepreneurs and other businesses in the financial industry are investing more in automation, analytics and customer interaction technology. While this creates opportunities for people with technology and finance skills, it also calls for soft skills. For example, customer-facing and stakeholder roles require strong interpersonal skills such as conflict resolution, data interpretation and financial communication.


The emergence of new finance roles

As we become more digital, new finance roles continue to emerge. Due to this digital economy, new finance roles are materialising in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic automation.

Finance entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial finance is a growing stream of finance and aims to assist entrepreneurs in the specifics of securing investment.

According to research consultants CB Insights, the main reason startups fail is because they run out of money or fail to raise new capital. This is because most entrepreneurs don’t use investors. Instead, they are likely to use their own funds, take out a loan or obtain credit from suppliers.

In fact, the 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report states that financial knowledge is paramount for business growth as funds must be made available to new startups – from informal investment and bank loans to government grants and venture capital[4].

By applying comprehensive finance knowledge to startups through entrepreneurial finance, you can support and contribute to the success of the organisation.


FinTech industries may involve robo-advisors that can prove to be quite useful, but they don't replace human financial advisors. Robo-advisors use artificial intelligence to gather a client’s information and automatically invest for the client based on that data.

According to the news channel CNBC, robo-advisors manage $460 billion, and the robo-advisory industry is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2024[5].

While robo-advisors are gaining more capabilities and publicity, they won’t be replacing human financial advisors. A recent study by LendEDU found that millennials chose human advisors by nearly two-to-one over automated investment services[6]. Other findings revealed that 52 per cent of millennials believed that robo-advisors are more likely to make mistakes, and nearly 70 per cent thought a human advisor would get a better return on their investments.

Virtual CFOs

A virtual chief financial officer (CFO) is another career option. You’d work part time on a per project basis, a contract basis or charge a retainer fee to perform monthly services.

Many small businesses want access to an experienced financial professional at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO. They may not have a full executive team, but they still want access to a strategic financial export. Hiring a virtual CFO makes this possible.

As a virtual CFO, the services you provide will differ from firm to firm, but you will typically manage all the duties of a traditional CFO and work remotely on a part-time basis. You’ll also monitor the financial health and well-being of the business – usually with cloud technology – and offer financial guidance on all company decisions and issues.


Launch a career in finance

Do you want to become more of an asset in your next financial role?

Whether you’re interested in analytics, entrepreneurship, corporate finance or the constant evolution of FinTech, there are so many paths a career in finance can offer you.​

If you’re already working in the finance industry, or if you’re planning to upskill or change your career to get into finance, unlock your value with a postgraduate finance degree at UNSW.

Dr Luis Filipe Goncalves-Pinto, Master of Applied Finance Program Director at UNSW, says it’s the applied nature of the Master of Applied Finance program that makes it so effective as “it blends advanced academic rigour with hands-on projects that are immediately applicable in the workplace”.

Make a difference in every sector of the finance industry, in any market, with globally recognised credentials from UNSW.

Learn how you can make a difference as an in-demand financial leader with the online Master of Applied Finance at UNSW.


[1] ABC News, 2018, [2], 2021, [3] Australian Industry & Skills Committee, 2021, [4] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, 2021, [5] CNBC, 2021, [6] LendEDU, 2021