Postsecondary students perceive finance to be a valuable major, but they’re not convinced those working in the industry have a positive social or environmental impact, according to a survey from the CFA Institute

The survey, focused on the post-pandemic career outlooks of more than 15,000 university students and recent graduates aged 18–25 worldwide, found that 58% of respondents felt confident about their future career prospects.

Traditionally stable fields remained attractive to students and grads, with 26% of respondents ranking finance as the “most valuable” major for finding a career, putting it among the top five, along with medicine (33% of respondents), science (28%), tech (27%) and business (also 26%).

About 15% of respondents rated finance as the industry they felt most confident about for career prospects — again placing it fifth, behind education (20%), health care (18%), medicine/science (17%) and sales, media and marketing (17%).

Because of the pandemic, nearly half (46%) of respondents said they were reassessing their career paths. Top concerns included low pay (26%) or lack of jobs (25%) in their preferred sectors, and working in a sector that didn’t fulfil or interest them (26%).

Additionally, 87% of respondents said working in an industry that makes a positive societal and environmental impact was an important part of their career choices. However, only 8% of respondents said a career as an investment professional could have such an impact.

Doctor (27%), teacher (26%), scientist (26%) and social worker (24%) were the top careers for positive contribution.

“It is encouraging to see that many graduates still view finance as a stable and attractive career path,” said Margaret Franklin, president and CEO of the CFA Institute, in a release. 

“Worryingly, however, graduates currently don’t see the industry as making a positive social impact. This issue is only going to increase in importance, and industry leaders need to make sure we are on the front foot in educating students about the positive impact an investment career can have for people and our planet.”