Recent shifts in graduate employment figures suggest that they are no longer as interested in pursuing careers in the banking sector, compared to previous alumni.
Socially conscious graduates are less concerned with working in multinational banking firms, with a considerable decline in those who pursue a career primarily to obtain a large wage packet at the end of the month. Instead, we are seeing the younger generations chasing careers that motivate them in other ways, including participating in social change. Graduate training programmes need to be rethought and revamped to ensure that young professionals are drawn to the industry to secure the future of the sector.
The banks or the graduates – who needs to change?
It could be argued that in order for banking sectors to continue to retain and attract skilled graduates they need to make changes to the way in which they are presented in the media and online, alongside building more focus on their corporate social responsibility efforts.
Equally, they may have to identify alternative ways to encourage graduates to enter the banking sector, such as attractive graduate training packages. If banks are able to offer the ability for university leavers to visualise how they can make a difference to the sector, grow their skills and the path this will take, they are overall more likely to capture their attention. Graduate training programmes should aim to deliver content and topics in a way that will engage the younger generations, whilst integrating real-life examples to demonstrate how their job will impact the wider world.
Prior to the financial crash of 2008, there were a significantly higher number of university leavers entering careers in finance. However, recent years have lead to a more balanced distribution of graduates of all skill levels across all sectors, where previously many high achieving leavers gravitated primarily towards finance. With the industry now in healthier stead, companies must ensure that they are repositioning themselves to appeal to fresh talent.
Graduate training and incentives
From the advertising and application process to career pathway plans, banking firms must ensure that in order to more effectively attract talented university leavers, they are competing effectively with other industries. With the expansion of technology sectors, skilled analysts are no longer limited by their degree, with interchangeable skills highly adaptable to other highly attractive and competitive industries.
Banks such as Barclays now try to alleviate the daunting ordeal that is a job interview by offering all graduates – not only their own applicants – free accommodations for distance job interviews. The only stipulations are that the job interviews must be in the listed cities, which include Birmingham, Manchester, and London. This incentive allows cash-strapped graduates the ability to alleviate additional pressure on them caused by financial worries. The banking provider is offering two free nights accommodation in order to deter graduates from turning down job interviews due to financial constraints.
For many of those entering the workforce, the fear of landing a stagnant job with few prospects can deter them from applying for roles in particular industries. Job advertisements must be explicitly clear to promote their graduate training programmes and how these will shape their future careers. Offering examples of how graduate training can reshape existing skills to succeed in the banking and finance industry can assist potential applicants in making a decision about their future.
Finally, many graduates looking to enter financial and banking are failing to obtain roles in areas offering the most opportunities, such as London, due to the sheer living costs associated with residing in the capital. With this in mind, the industry either needs to adjust salaries accordingly with the areas, provide the tools to help graduates progress at an accelerated rate to increase their pay or find alternatives such as travel incentives to living costs subsidies.