Employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is
expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations
through 2014. As people’s incomes continue to climb, they will increasingly seek the advice
and services of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents to realize their
financial goals. Growth in the volume of stocks traded over the Internet will limit job growth.
Nevertheless, the overall increase in investment is expected to spur employment growth among
these workers, with a majority of transactions still requiring the advice and services of
securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.
Baby boomers in their peak savings years will fuel much of this increase in investment.
Saving for retirement has been made much easier by the government, which continues to offer
a number of tax-favorable pension plans, such as the 401(k) and the Roth IRA. The
participation of more women in the workforce also means higher household incomes and more
women qualifying for pensions. Many of these pensions are self-directed, meaning that the
recipient has the responsibility for investing the money. With such large amounts of money
to invest, sales agents, in their role as financial advisors, will be in great demand.
Other factors that will affect the demand for brokers are the increasing number and complexity
of investment products, as well as the effects of globalization. As the public and businesses
become more sophisticated about investing, they are venturing into the options and futures
markets. Brokers are needed to buy or sell these products, which are not traded online.
Also, markets for investment are expanding with the increase in global trading of stocks and
bonds. Furthermore, the New York Stock Exchange has extended its trading hours to accommodate
trading in foreign stocks and compete with foreign exchanges.
Employment of sales agents is adversely affected by downturns in the stock market or the
economy. Turnover is high for beginning agents, who often are unable to establish a sizable
clientele even in good times. Once established, securities and commodities sales agents have
a very strong attachment to their occupation because of their high earnings and considerable
investment in training. Competition usually is keen, especially in larger companies with
more applicants than jobs. Opportunities for beginning sales agents should be better in
Employment of financial services sales agents in banks will increase as banks expand their
product offerings in order to compete directly with other investment firms.