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Banking loses popularity as career choice

17 October 2013

Banking has fallen further in popularity as a career choice among business students since the collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago, according to a report by Deloitte.

The Deloitte Talent in Banking Survey 2013 asked 108,000 business students globally to rank their top five ‘ideal’ employers. The survey then looked at 32,000 business students who identified a bank among their five ideal employers.


It found that the popularity of working in the average bank fell by five places to 35th out of a normalised group of 100 employers among students globally during the five-year period to 2013. However, banking remained the second most popular career choice among the analysed industries.


Students considering working in banking did not however, expect to achieve their career goals in the industry.


Additionally, money does matter to students planning a career in banking but they were more concerned with professional training and development than high future earnings and work-life balance and job security were top goals, but they didn’t expect banks to provide them.


Dr. Steve Priddy, head of research at the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) told Governance & Compliance that ‘it should come as no surprise that the continual bad press that affects the banking sector is beginning to translate into a loss of appetite for working for such employers. 


‘If banks are serious about salvaging their reputation then a return to face to face customer service is critical.  There are banking business models which do not centre on obscene levels of compensation, for example Handelsbankken, the Swedish-owned organisation that prides itself on locally empowered managers and remuneration, which is not based on bonuses.  What is clear is that the future for banks will be less profitable and possibly less exciting, if excitement is equated with gambling.  However, taking pride in great customer service, operating a payments system that is fit for purpose and exercising professional judgement in an ethical manner will become attractive to a new generation.’


Kevin O’Reilly, partner at Deloitte, commenting on the attitudes of business students to working in banking, said that it ‘[reflects] the turbulence that the industry has endured since the start of the financial crisis.


‘Banks must respond decisively if they are to continue to attract the best graduates and it is in their interests to recognise these changing attitudes and highlight attractions other than pay. It may be necessary to transform the career paths they offer graduates and emphasise the training and development they can provide as this is a key attraction for students who are interested in banking.’

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