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Looking for job security? Try the Securities and Exchange Commission

That's right, financial professional. The SEC wants you. In fact, it is absolutely surging in popularity among financial job seekers.

This fiscal year, the SEC received 65,535 applications, more than double the year-earlier, as the number of job openings jumped 38% to 730.

In demand

Especially in demand are people with backgrounds in high-frequency trading and derivatives, said a source who refused to be identified because she wasn't authorized to speak to the media.

The SEC also actively recruits accountants and economists. The Certified Public Accountant designation is a must for accountant jobs and relevant industry experience helps. Among the areas where someone in this field could be placed are the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance. Prospective economists need to have a doctorate.

Given its legal purview,  it’s not surprising that the agency is always looking for talented attorneys and hires more of them than other specialties. Applicants must be a member of at least one state bar.

800 interns

If you're still in school, consider this. The SEC uses about 800 interns and is always on the look out for students interested in a career in public service.

Don't expect to make Wall Street-sized salaries at the SEC and realize that government ethics rules restrict your ability to profit from public service if you just happen to find employment in the private sector. Pay varies widely depending on experience ranging from about $90,000 to $215,000.

Earn more than government counterparts

On the other hand, the SEC isn't bound by civil service rules that cover most of the federal government.  SEC employees can earn about 20% more than their counter-parts covered by the GS scale. Benefits are also better than other federal agencies.  For instance, employees are also eligible for the repayment of as much as $10,000 in student loans in exchange for agreeing to work at the agency for a set period of time.

What SEC doesn't pay are relocation expenses.

Agency workers, however, do have opportunities for advancement both in the Washington headquarters and at the 11  regional offices including New York, according the source. In total, there are about 39,000 employees at the SEC.

Commissioners have small personal staffs that are made up of mostly political appointees. People from the private sector may fit in the role of market examiner, the source said.  These roles are available throughout the agency.  Having certifications such the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) would give an applicant for these roles a leg up, the source said.

Hiring may cool somewhat in the 2013 fiscal year given budgetary constraints, but for employees looking for a challenge and seeking stable employment, the SEC may be a good fit.

AUTHORJonathan Berr Insider Comment

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