Graduate Recruitment in the Banking Industry
A career in the banking industry may be about as popular as a career as an estate agent or football referee at present. The general public is hostile to bankers, while within the industry itself banking companies have undergone a painful couple of years, of corporate restructuring, job losses and small bonus, despite what the media headlines would have you believe.
The Graduate Path into BankingBut what about graduate recruitment in the banking industry? Contrary to popular opinion, the numbers of students studying for banking related qualifications has increased over the past couple of years.
For example, the Cass Business School, based in London, has seen applications increase by more than 60 percent in the past year.
Unfortunately, these graduates have been forced to compete for a significantly diminished number of graduate vacancies, as recruitment programs were quickly scaled back when banks were forced to start cutting costs in 2007.
Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that graduate recruitment, particularly among the larger, London based financial institutions, is set to increase again in 2010.
The Big Banks are BackBarclays is the highest profile example of one of the big high street banks that is returning to profit and starting to hire large numbers of graduates. The bank itself managed to avoid the most damaging effects of the credit crunch, and emerged from the global recession in a position of relative strength when compared to many of its competitors, both in the UK and overseas.
Barclays says its graduate recruitment levels will be up by close to 20 per cent this year, to help cope with their expanded business as a result of taking over struggling US institutions.
Even the Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it is ramping up its graduate recruitment programme once more, with plans to hire a prospective 600 new recruits, more than double the number of graduates recruited in 2009.
What Areas Should Graduates Target?New graduate positions are more likely to positioned in specific business lines within the banking organisation, particularly those with the greatest growth, such as investment banking, which has recovered dramatically in the past year, boosted by low interest rates and government bailout money.
Risk management is also another area of considerable investment and growth potential. Across the world, governments have been looking to tighten up their banking regulation. This in turn means that companies need to hire new recruits to deal with the stricter application of financial regulation, including the assessment and ongoing monitoring of financial risk and clients.
Changing the Face of the Banking IndustryIronically, just as the banking industry is increasing its number of young new recruits, headhunters have been reporting that the wise old heads of the industry are starting to consider moving on to new pastures. Indeed, several high profile executives at companies such as Merrill Lynch and UBS have followed this route.
Headhunters argue that now that the bonus culture has been changed, so that bankers are rewarded for long term performance with shares instead of cash incentives, many experienced bankers are looking to move on, whereas graduates are more willing to wait for their shares to be paid out.
Those new graduates entering the industry for the first time are therefore likely to form the new, more responsible generation of banks, focused on long term success rather than short-term gain. Perhaps the banking industry could rebuild its reputation after all?