Financial Industry Jobs: What Does 2012 Have In Store?

On January 6th we got yet another positive jobs report; the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since February 2009. But of course, we still have a long ways to go until we’re out of the woods and meanwhile, jobs in the financial industry will continue to be susceptible. So what should we expect in this industry during 2012?
No one has a crystal ball, but what follows are 3 industry consensuses I keep hearing over and over.
1. Increasing need for compliance

Regardless of what direction the economy goes, there are two catalysts at play which will ensure the need for compliance-related jobs.

The first catalyst is the Dodd-Frank banking legislation, which went into full effect last fall. In turn, banks large and small are ratcheting up their hiring of compliance officers, compliance analysts, regulatory affairs managers, and similar occupations.
The second catalyst is the newly created Consumer Protection Bureau. On January 5th Obama appointed its first director and now they can start getting down to business. So it comes as no surprise that payday lenders, the student loan industry, issuers of secured credit cards, and other highly-scrutinized financial products are already taking defensive measures by cranking up their compliance efforts.
2. Accounting is in demand
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth estimates for accounting is expected to remain very strong over the next several years.
Right now, we’re already seeing public accounting firms stepping up their hiring efforts, some quite aggressively. They’re trying to make up for all the staff they had to slash during the recession.
If you’re an accountant and want to stand out from the crowd, hone in on your proficiency with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Many of the largest public companies have begun transitioning from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to IFRS, so they need folks who know how to handle it.
3. Banking jobs likely to be flat
If unemployment continues to improve this could change – but as it stands now – things aren’t looking to upbeat when it comes to big banking.
During Q1 of this year, Morgan Stanley is supposedly trimming their headcount by 1,600. Then last month, Citigroup announced it would be laying off 4,500 employees. Not long before that, Bank of America said they plan to layoff 30,000 jobs over the next several years. As someone who runs a popular site promoting credit cards, I can also tell you that a couple weeks ago, BofA announced they would be ceasing credit card affiliate marketing for at least the first half of 2012.
However the outlook for banking isn’t all bad. With the continued ultra-low interest rates, you can expect continued strength in the mortgage industry for refinancing and if the real estate market picks up, new purchases also. Furthermore, there is continued demand for jobs which move foreclosures through to the market. And let me be clear that even though the aforementioned banks aren’t doing too hot, there are many which are performing quite well. Take J.P. Morgan Chase, who’s on track to open 175 new branches this year.