Operations jobs – is this the career for you?

How to Find Your Next Finance Job

If you’re looking to work in a finance field but aren’t excited by the prospect of working with clients all day, then operations manager jobs may be the perfect fit.

Operational finance professionals are focused on much larger tasks than individual clients. While the people working in the front office of an investment bank or other financial firm are focused on the “micro” tasks – ensuring that individual clients are satisfied and successful – operations managers need to be focused on the “macro”. They’re responsible for ensuring that the entire business is always operating efficiently and as well as it possibly can.

The primary duties of an operations job are to clear and settle trades for your firm, but it’s also necessary for workers in these positions to ensure all the firm’s cross-department communications and efforts are completed without complications.

High-ranking operations workers may even have to recruit project managers and business analysts to help improve lacking areas of the company. When you work an operations job, you’re overseeing more than any trader – you’re looking at the entire firm.

For their work, operations managers are very well compensated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that operations managers – who are responsible for planning and coordinating the operations of entire organizations – earned a average annual wage of almost $115,000 during 2012.

However, the individuals at the top of the industry are bringing in much more on a yearly basis. The top 10 percent of earners in the field took home approximately $187,200 per year – representing more than $90.00 per hour.

What state you work in can also determine how well you’re paid when working an operations job. Individuals in New Jersey working operations jobs take home an annual media wage that’s significantly more than $160,000 – a massive increase from the national average. Professionals working this job in Rhode Island, Connecticut and the District of Columbia also bring home a mean pay of more than $141,000 each, representing the next three most highly paid areas for this position.

Operations managers help the many departments within a financial firm to coordinate their efforts toward a specific end goal. They’ll be responsible for numerous tasks necessary for the success of the overall business: operations managers are responsible for hiring employees, dictating business strategies, and overseeing the general efficiency displayed by the firm.

When you’re working an operations job, your responsibilities stretch across the whole company that you work for. You’re not responsible for one specific department – you’re responsible for the overall performance of all of them.

“Operations really is the heart of most companies, because the operations department actually gets the job that the company needs to get done, done,” Eric Schaudt, manager of operations at Northrop Grumman, said to U.S. & World News Report.

As with most finance careers, a bachelor’s degree will likely be needed for you to even procure any interviews with a sizable firm – but a master’s degree or an MBA would go much further in helping you to obtain employment. There also are certifications you can obtain to help you prove your competency, as well, such as one offered by the Association for Operations Management. Schaudt told the news outlet that these certifications can help you to earn an early advantage over your peers when competing for these jobs.

“A lot of companies use these certifications as search criteria and filter their candidates as whether they are certified or not certified,” he said.

However, operations jobs may often require more industry-specific training. Specific experience within the organization you’re applying to will always be your best bet – but if not, you’d do well to accentuate any experience you may have in the sector of the business to which you’re applying. Failing that, Schaudt concluded by noting that networking is an important part of training for and obtaining these positions.

“We encourage people to go to meetings, hand out their resume, and start to build a network among the operations management profession,” he told the U.S. & World News Report. “The best way to break into the profession is to build a professional network. A lot of the time, this can and does lead to a job interview.”

Are operations jobs right for you?
It’s a hard question to answer. You’ll surely be stressed on a regular basis, being forced to take responsibility for an entire company. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. & World News Report indicates that the stress levels for this position are above average while the flexibility offered by the position is below average. There is a payoff, however, aside from the salary: these positions offer above average levels of upward mobility opportunities.

So if you’re thinking about working operations jobs, you need to be prepared to work long hours and be held responsible for extremely large tasks. The salary will make the work worth it – so long as you’re up to the task yourself.