How do I start a career in commodities?

Posting date: 11 April 2024

The commodities trading industry is a diverse field with roles to suit a variety of skills and preferences. From positions as commodities traders to jobs in risk management, analysis, accounting and engineering, there are ample opportunities for career growth and development in this exciting industry. 

Those still in the early days of their commodities career or those considering a career in this dynamic sector may be left wondering, “How do I start a career in commodities?’ The good news is, in this growing industry, there are a number of paths you can take to grow a rewarding and ever-evolving career

What qualifications are needed for commodity market jobs?

Commodities traders are not like doctors or lawyers - they don’t necessarily need a degree. However, having formal qualifications from a higher education facility doesn’t hurt. Many individuals who have built highly successful careers in commodities have formal qualifications in areas of business and finance. 

While these credentials are not strictly essential, they can make it easier to gain internships or junior positions at bigger commodity trading firms. Such degrees can also give a solid foundation in certain markets, which can help with understanding the influences and patterns of specific sectors, which can be beneficial when making successful trades. 

Some locations also require traders to have trading licences to legally operate at a corporate level. 

However, while talented traders may be able to get by without a degree, some roles in the commodities sector, such as in engineering or finance departments, demand specific formal qualifications. 

Specialising in one type of commodity 

Commodities trading is a diverse market, and as such, many traders specialise in one of the four areas of commodity trading. These areas broadly fall under the categories of:

  • Agriculture 
  • Metal
  • Energy 
  • Livestock and meat 

By focusing on one segment of the overall global commodities marketplace, commodities professionals can come to better understand the trends and influencing factors of this specific cog in the commodities wheel.

The value of traineeships and internships in building careers in commodities 

Internships and traineeships offer emerging commodities professionals the opportunity to get their foot in the door and see how the industry works while the stakes aren’t quite as high. They also, crucially, allow those new to the field the opportunity to network and build links in the industry. 

Many global corporations and commodity trading firms offer internships and traineeships. Using an internship as a springboard into the industry is one of the most common routes for traders to advance to junior trading positions, and then eventually to more senior roles. 

The need for networking 

As any expert in recruitment will tell you, a core aspect of the modern world of business is networking, and the commodities trading sector is no exception. The link between networking and career enhancement has been well documented. In fact, some estimates show that 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional networks, signifying an era where networking reigns supreme.

Networking for knowledge 

Attending networking events and actively working to expand your professional circle not only allows you to increase your opportunity to learn about career-progressing positions, it also creates a path that will enhance your knowledge. 

By engaging with a wide range of individuals already working in the industry, you are opening up opportunities to learn new things about this industry first-hand. Networking creates a way for those still early in their career to grow status and connections in this specific sector and to receive constructive feedback from experts. Engaging with fellow industry members also allows young professionals to build the soft skills, such as communication, that are essential for rising the ranks of the commodities trading industry. 

How do I start a career in commodities with Swisslinx? 

In the exciting world of commodities, no two days are ever the same and the opportunity to grow a dynamic and rewarding career is a tantalising prospect. With hard work and dedication, it is possible for anyone to rise through the ranks of the commodities industry and find senior-level job opportunities they can excel in. 

Swisslinx is an expert recruiter in the commodities industry, adept at matching the right people with the right positions. Don't hesitate to explore the commodities opportunities we have to offer and get in touch to grow your career today.