Finance jobs in the government sector
The financial sector has recently experienced more breakdowns than British singing sensation Susan Boyle. As a result, conventional avenues for finding finance jobs have become increasingly difficult to navigate, while the governmental sector has been emerging as a promising alternative route.
At jobsearch.usajobs.gov, the official job site of the U.S. government, candidates can search for finance jobs such as a public finance/tax economist position for the Congressional Budget Office (a job where you can provide Congress with analysis and conduct tax policy research on different issues). You can also apply to be an auditor for the Defense Contract Audit Agency, a position currently available in several U.S. cities that offers a salary between $48,000 and $68,000 annually (depending on experience).
Interested candidates can peruse these positions and more to find jobs that fit their qualifications. But public job seekers beware: the government is more selective than most companies when it comes to who gets in—more likely than not, you’ll have to agree to at least a background check and, depending on the agency’s policies, possibly a separate security investigation.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which protects investors through making and enforcing market regulations, is also currently hiring. The SEC has some open staff accountant and economist positions, including a supervisory staff accountant job located in Washington, D.C., offering an annual starting salary of $114,000. The SEC offers jobs at all levels, and annually runs a “Summer Honors College Program,” which familiarizes students with securities markets regulations. Typically, students qualifying for the program will be pursuing a degree in accounting, economics, finance or a related field. For details on this program and other positions, check out www.sec.gov/jobs.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also needs a few good men and women—and needs them not to do more than collect back taxes. In addition to the usual listing of IRS agent positions, the agency is also hiring accountants, economists, auditors, analysts and tax specialists. And the salary isn’t bad: financial analyst positions pay between $80,000 and $117,000 annually. The positions do, though, require a six-part test—including mathematic reasoning, economics and accounting, financial management analysis, problem solving, reading and writing—so they’re not that easy to get. Economist positions, which require at least a year of previous experience, are also available at locations throughout the nation. Prospective applicants can check out job listings and more at www.jobs.irs.gov.
Less obvious governmental agencies also currently hiring for finance positions include the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), which currently lists open economist, financial analyst and accountant positions at www.hud.gov/jobs. A position as an accountant with HUD requires either a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a certificate as a Certified Public Accountant and, of course, the requisite experience depending on your level. Such a gig can garner anywhere from $33,000 to $53,000. HUD also lists an economist position on its site for a “mid-career professional” looking for a change (and wanting to relocate to Washington, D.C.). If you have the required background and experience (and manage to pass the extensive questionnaire), you could earn anywhere from $73,000 to $95,000. More details on this position and others are available on the HUD site.
The Federal Reserve also has several finance-related jobs posted on its website (listed under www.federalreserve.gov/careers). Entry-level economist positions are currently open for those possessing a PhD as well as a “strong grounding in economic theory and quantitative methods.” Those interested in applying should send a resume, research paper and three letters of reference to EconomistRecruiting@frb.gov. The Fed also lists “financial analyst/bank examiner” positions, which help monitor operations of all 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Analysts are hired within the Fed’s Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, and Division of Consumer and Community Affairs.
Finance jobs in the public sector can also be found at these organizations: the Bureau of Economic Analysis (www.bea.gov/jobs/index.htm), Defense Contract Audit Agency (www.dcaa.mil/careercenter), the FBI (www.fbijobs.gov) and the Peace Corps (www.peacecorps.gov).
In addition, look for hundreds (if not thousands) of jobs to be soon created in the areas of loan servicing, insurance and collections, thanks to President Obama’s recently signed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.