Sep 10 2009

Great Places to Start in Finance

By laura lorber

If a career in the financial-services industry is your goal after graduation, a new survey might help you decide where to send a resume.

BusinessWeek magazine's 2009 "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking is laden with financial-services employers, including accounting firms, insurance companies and investment banks. The caveat? Entry-level hiring has fallen precipitously at even these prized employers.

The Big Four accounting firms -- Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG -- took the top spots on the list, ranking No. 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. But at these firms, entry-level hiring has dropped off when comparing hiring activity for the first five months of 2008 and 2009, from 1% lower at Deloitte to nearly 35% lower at KPMG.

Among the financial firms that made the list, Progressive saw its entry-level hiring shrink the most -- by 93%, followed by New York Life (nearly 76%) and Ameriprise Financial (69%).

The survey looked at hiring, pay, benefits, training programs and other criteria.

Perhaps surprisingly, the financial-services employers in the ranking didn't offer the highest average pay for new grads. This distinction went to technology companies such as Microsoft, whose average starting pay was reported at more than $75,000 a year. By comparison, average starting pay at investment banks Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse came in at $60,000 to $65,000 a year.

Here are the financial-services firms that made the list, along with their ranking.

Deloitte (1)

Ernst & Young (2)

PricewaterhouseCoopers (3)

KPMG (4)

JPMorgan (9)

Prudential (19)

AFLAC (21)

Liberty Mutual (31)

Travelers (32)

New York Life (33)

Wells Fargo (39)

MetLife (40)

Progressive (45)

Grant Thornton (51)

CIGNA (58)

Credit Suisse (62)

McGladrey & Pullen (66)

Ameriprise Financial (67)

Related: Big Four Accounting Firms M.B.A. Recruiting

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