A career in finance is one of those professional pursuits that offers the potential of lucrative income earning opportunities. However, there are some cities that are better than others when it comes to launching and growing a successful career.
What to Look for in a Good Finance City
How exactly do you evaluate a city in the context of a career? Certainly, there are parts of the country known for specific professional pursuits and niches – Hollywood for entertainment, Silicon Valley for tech startups, etc. – but what about finance?
Evaluating cities and locales based on their role in the finance industry is actually quite simple. Some of the factors to be considered include the cost of living, employment opportunities, social and economic performance, and the potential for work-life balance.
While ultimately a subjective decision, creating a list of the top cities in the finance industry comes down to the details and is based on the overall potential an average young professional with a finance degree would possess in any given city.
Six Cities Where Finance is Thriving
The good news is that promising careers in finance can be found in every nook and cranny of the globe. The trickiest part is determining where you want to work and what you want to do. With that being said, here are some of the top cities for finance in the entire world.
1. Frankfurt, Germany
When you think about finance in Europe, Frankfurt immediately comes to mind. It’s the unofficial finance capital of continental Europe, which means it has plenty of opportunities for employment. It’s home to Deutsche Bank, as well as a number of international firms. But unlike other large cities, Frankfurt doesn’t have a huge cost of living (coming in at just 88th on Mercer’s Cost of Living Ranking). In fact, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of the city for just $895 per month.
2. San Francisco, California, USA
Prefer to spend your career stateside? Few cities are more unique and exciting than San Francisco. There are a number of banking and brokerage firms in the Bay Area, including companies like Franklin Templeton Investments and Charles Schwab. It’s also right next to Silicon Valley, which has a burgeoning FinTech scene. While the cost of living is high, San Francisco is naturally conducive to business travel with leading hotels and entertainment options. This makes it a great place to network and grow your career.
3. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
When you think about wealth management, Boston is traditionally seen as one of the top cities in America. It’s home to a number of successful money managers (including Putnam Investments and Fidelity Investments) and has a considerably stable job market. Even during recessions – which can hit the industry hard – the Boston finance market tends to be resilient. There’s something to be said for that. As for the cost of living, Boston comes in at 47th on Mercer’s Cost of Living Ranking.
4. Hong Kong, China
Landing a finance job in a key Asian city like Hong Kong can be a recipe for a successful career. Widely recognized as one of the most significant cities in the entire world for finance and commerce, Hong Kong offers many opportunities. But with these opportunities come tradeoffs. The city ranks number one for cost of living and a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the city will cost you more than $2,200 per month.
5. Zurich, Switzerland
As the capital of the robust Swiss banking industry, Zurich is a wonderful place to find and grow a career. A number of large global companies like Credit Suisse and UBS call the city home, and there’s ample opportunity for employment in the private banking and wealth management sectors. If you’re a particularly well-qualified applicant, you may not even need to speak a second language. Zurich is third on Mercer’s Cost of Living Ranking, but the high average salaries seem to make up for that.
6. New York, New York, USA
It’s hard to create a list of top finance capitals without New York. Many call it the finance capital of the world and it’s home to companies like Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan (News - Alert), and Citigroup. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom is killer (roughly $2,900), but the money seems to flow freely in this industry.
Make a Career Out of It
When it comes to selecting a location for your career in finance, these cities' financial sectors offer different opportunities - and the cities themselves have very different qualities of life. It will ultimately depend on who hires you, but it's worth thinking about both of these factors when deciding where to focus your efforts.
Edited by Alicia Young