16 Fastest-Growing Salaries in the Financial Sector Today

By Christie Summervill

16 Fastest-Growing Salaries in the Financial Sector Today

In what has been a record-setting year already, 2021 continues to surprise with more unexpected trends in the labor market for the financial services industry. Banks and Credit Unions are already facing labor shortages due to the post-pandemic reality and are now faced with a new set of financial factors to reconcile: increasing salaries in key departments and positions. The following are the top 16 positions that have seen exceptional pay increases over the past year. BalancedComp is here to help you sort out the highest rising salaries and how to keep up while maintaining the bottom line. 

According to BalancedComp research, these are the 16 fastest growing salaries by job title in the financial sector for 2021-2022:


Fastest Moving Jobs Avg Percentage Increase
Chief Risk Officer 9.24%
VP Mortgages 8.77%
Systems Administrator 8.17%
Senior Consumer Loan Processor 7.91%
IT/Network Spec I  7.80%
Mortgage Closer 7.55%
VP of Marketing 7.19%
Project Manager  6.61%
Mortgage Underwriter 6.54%
Regional Branch Manager 6.12%
HR Generalist 6.04%
Recruiter  5.69%
IT Manager/Director 5.62%
Programmer Analyst 5.61%
Chief Lending Officer 5.53%
Director of Audits 5.40%


Tech Jobs and Salaries Are Booming.

As technology continues to shape where and how we work, technology specialists will remain in high demand across the board! According to Monster.com, “The tech industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% growth rate between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations”. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that four of the top fifteen fastest growing salaries are coming out of the IT department for banks and credit unions. Banks and Credit Unions will continually need to keep and retain top IT talent along with other major industries, including medicine, manufacturing, and telecommunications. 

Loan Departments are Thriving

Due to a sustained and exceptionally low-interest rate from the Federal Reserve, it is no surprise that three of the top fifteen fastest-growing pay ranges are from the Loan department. With competing interests of inflation and a cooling housing market, will there still be such a demand for work in the Mortgage department? That has yet to be determined. One key indicator for this trend comes in the form of Underwriter salaries, which surged approximately five years ago when the position jumped up a grade, and despite predictions of slowing down, this position continues to be amongst the fastest growing salaries today.

HR Positions Remain Key

The Human Resources department has not been easy to manage during the global pandemic of the past couple of years. Balancing remote and hybrid work schedules with COVID testing protocols and labor shortages, there were pitfalls and stop-gap measures around every corner! Despite the difficulties and challenges, HR remained on top and managed to pull financial institutions through one of the most tumultuous times in recent history. That was then, and this is now, but one thing has not changed, HR is at the heart of every company’s compensation plan, which is why two of the top 16 fastest growing salaries come from the HR department: Recruiter and HR Generalist.

Not unlike IT positions which are in high demand across multiple industries, Human Resources is in more demand now than ever, not just for banks and credit unions. According to the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), “the JPMorgan Chase’s 2020 Business Leaders Outlook report, two of the top three challenges facing business leaders this year fall directly under HR’s responsibility: finding talent with the right skills and managing labor costs”. 

With an increased number of qualified workers taking early retirement, an increased number of start-up companies, and more people sitting out of the job market altogether, there are more pressing and complex concerns facing HR professionals than ever before. Like IT and Tech departments, HR employees have a greater amount of flexibility in the job market than other, more hyper-specialized financial positions, bringing compensation ranges higher to compete with the HR job market at large.

Risk, Compliance, and Audit Breakthroughs

Two of the top 16 fastest-growing pay grades come from this hyper-specialized and crucial department. Banks and Credit Unions need specifically and highly trained specialists to help them thrive within the strict rules and regulations exclusive to the financial sector. With the exceptional need and precise knowledge comes a heftier salary which banks and credit unions will likely need to absorb to remain competitive. 

The Chief Risk Officer position has the highest increase, and with good reason, in an increasingly competitive and complex financial environment, comes great need for qualified leadership. According to North Carolina State’s Enterprise Risk Management Initiative Survey, “59% of respondents shared that the volume and complexity of risks increased ‘extensively’ or ‘mostly’ in the past five years. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted new risks financially, operationally, safety-wise and cybersecurity-wise”. At one time, Chief Risk Officer was solely the domain of the financial sector, but now Risk Officers are being lured away by high-tech cybersecurity firms for their very same skill sets. Banks and credit unions would do well to remain vigilant, lest they lose valued leadership to other sectors.

The Great Resignation

Adding to the totality of this salary increase summary are the effects of what has been dubbed online as the “Great Resignation” or the mass effect of people across all sectors of work leaving their jobs or looking for work elsewhere in the post-pandemic era. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the months of April, May, and June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs, and there is no end in sight for personnel turnover. 

According to an article published by Forbes, “recent research by Microsoft, the 2021 Work Trend Index, showed that 41% of the workforce is considering leaving their employer this year” (Forbes.com). That number was raised to an astonishing 54% when Gen-Z workers (aged 18-25) were considered alone! A recent Gallup found that 48% of employees are actively searching for new opportunities and a Persio reported that 38% of those they surveyed planned to make a change in the next six months. These figures are alarming and the cost of turnover is expensive! According to Gallup, “a 100-person organization that provides an average salary of $50,000 could have turnover and replacement costs of approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year”. The smartest business leaders will have invested in a salary administration structure that will allow them to forgo relying on their most recent candidates’ salary requests. Be it one of the fast-growing or low-level starting salaries, banks and credit unions will have to work smarter, not harder to succeed moving forward.

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