Personal Finance

Financial advisor now among the toughest jobs to fill

Betting on robo-advisors

In the wake of the Great Recession and on the heels of a heady bull market, many investors wouldn't mind a little hand holding from a pro.

That's where a financial advisor often comes in. Those with certification can provide a range of financial advice from budgeting to estate planning. (You also don't have to be a millionaire to afford one.) There may be an even greater impetus to find a qualified professional now with the fate of the Department of Labor's investor protection rule in limbo.

The catch: There aren't enough to meet demand.

There are about 76,000 certified financial planners (CFPs) in the U.S. now, but there's room for more. In fact, financial advisors, in general, are one of the most in-demand positions, according to a recent CareerCast report on the toughest jobs to fill.

People are starting to plan more aggressively in case something else happens.
Kyle Kensing
online content editor at CareerCast

Given "how turbulent things can turn quickly, people are starting to plan more aggressively in case something else happens," said Kyle Kensing, CareerCast's online content editor.

To better manage periods of extreme market volatility, some advisory firms, including Betterment and Charles Schwab, are already beefing up the number of advisors on hand to enhance their automated investing services for clients.

But the greatest challenge many hiring managers face is finding applicants with the necessary skills, Kensing said.

For finance and business graduates, "it's not necessarily a career that jumps out at you," Kensing said. Still, "it's one where you can make good money and have a lot of opportunity," he said.

"We do have a gap in our profession because many advisors are retiring and the pipeline isn't keeping up with the pace of those aging out of the workforce," said Shannon Pike, a CFP at Tanglewood Legacy Advisors in Houston and president of the Financial Planning Association.

Industrywide, financial advisors have a 30 percent growth outlook, well above average, and an annual median salary of $89,160, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, 75 percent of people who primarily work with a financial advisor said they were pleased, according to a separate survey by the Financial Planning Association and Investopedia.

Questions to ask a financial advisor