Where to Live to Be a Stockbroker

Stockbrokers need a degree in finance, business, accounting or economics.
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Stockbrokers, also known by a variety of other names such as investment brokers, financial advisers or financial services sales agents, earn some of the highest wages in the country. According to 2012 wage estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, stockbrokers earned a mean annual wage of $100,190, or a mean hourly wage of $48.51. However, a 2012 study by a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that female stockbrokers make less than their male counterparts, and these gender inequalities led women from two of the largest brokerage firms to sue their former employers. Women who choose to pursue this profession would do well to carefully consider the industries and locations that hire the most stockbrokers as well as those that pay the highest wages.

Highest-Employing Industries

    Stockbrokers have the best chances of employment in industries that hire the most stockbrokers. There were 330,470 stockbrokers as of May 2012, reports BLS. At least 137,250 of them worked in securities and commodity contracts intermediation – which means they serve as a liaison – and brokerage, making this the industry with the highest employment levels. The second-highest employer of stockbrokers was the depository credit intermediation industry, with 103,680 hires. Firms that handle other financial investment activities hired 39,490 stockbrokers. Rounding out the top five were the nondepository credit intermediation industry and firms that manage companies and enterprises, which had 17,830 and 8,770 stockbrokers, respectively.

Highest-Employing Locations

    When deciding where to live to be a stockbroker, it's worth considering locations that offer the greatest chances of employment. In terms of location, New York – which is home to Wall Street and is one of the world' major financial centers – had 58,810 stockbrokers, making it the state with the highest employment levels. California, with 38,810 stockbrokers, is second. Texas came in third with 27,870 stockbrokers. Illinois and Florida had the fourth and fifth highest number of stockbrokers, with 20,980 and 17,930, respectively.

Top-Paying Industries

    Another consideration for stockbrokers is salary. According to May 2012 wage estimates from BLS, stockbrokers earned a mean annual wage of $167,000 working for wholesale merchants of petroleum and petroleum products, making it the highest-paying industry. Wholesale merchants of metal and minerals were the second-highest paying industry, with annual wages of $161,370. Management, scientific and technical consulting firms paid the third highest salary of $136,210. The fourth and fifth highest-paying industries were wholesale merchants of raw material farm products and firms engaged in other financial investment activities, with annual mean wages of $135,620 and $134,500, respectively.

Top-Paying Locations

    Stockbrokers who want to earned the highest salaries should consider locations that pay a lucrative salary. Stockbrokers who worked in Connecticut earned the highest mean annual wage, which was $160,850. New York was second, with an annual mean of $148,300. The third-highest-paying state for stockbrokers was Massachusetts, which paid $130,020. South Dakota and Kansas rounded out the top five highest-paying states with wages of $116,730 and $107,990, respectively.

J.D. Power Survey of Best Firms

    A 2013 survey by J.D. Power and Associates ranked the best firms for stockbrokers by several factors, including the firm’s performance, technology, salary, products offered to clients and support offered to employees. Edward Jones had the highest satisfaction ranking among employee adviser firms – or stockbrokers who are employed by their investment services firms – followed by Raymond James & Associates, UBS Financial Services and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Among independent adviser firms – or stockbrokers who operate independently but are affiliated with a broker-dealer – Commonwealth Financial Network was ranked the best firm, followed by Cambridge Investment Research, Raymond Jones Financial Services and Northwestern Mutual Investment Services.

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