Agreed – working in a bank isn’t perhaps the most glamourous occupation. It has perhaps the reputation for being a bit boring, but could applying for a job in the banking industry be the perfect career move? Here are some of the pros and cons of careers in financial services or banking.
- Range of opportunities: the UK banking sector is huge. Working for a bank doesn’t have to mean working as a teller behind the counter, it could mean working in head office on marketing, HR or in any number of other roles.
- Progression: as banking organisations are so large, there is always the chance to progress through the organisation into other roles. Jobs are often advertised internally first, so once you’re into an organisation you will be the first to know about vacancies.
- Training: Banks are well known for having well-trained staff so whatever your job role, you’ll be given the skills you need to do the job and many of these skills can be transferred to other industries should you decide to move on.
- Benefits and salary: banking salaries are competitive and large bank employers often offer excellent additional benefits such as private healthcare and discounts with large retail chains. Bank employees are also often able to get discounts on mortgages, loans and credit cards from their employer after a set period.
- Prestige: banking is seen as a desirable and prestigious career and is felt to be more secure than other sectors such as retail or fashion.
- Insecurity: banking is no longer the safe option for a career, as was shown by the crash in 2008 when several of the biggest UK names were brought into public ownership. Banks have been shedding jobs and closing branches ever since.
- Checking required: certain occupations in banking require police checking into the applicant’s background. This is similar to DBS checking and means that people with convictions for fraud, thefts and other offences may be barred from taking a job handling cash or with responsibility for cash.
- Rate of change: retail banking has been transformed over the past decade with digital technology. This pace of change isn’t going to slow, and it’s probably not the career for you if you like things to be calm and stable.
- Numeracy: working with numbers all day isn’t for everyone, and many more creative people find it restrictive and boring if their roles is constricted by rules and regulations.
If you’re set on a career in banking, then the websites of the biggest UK banks are a good starting point. All will give information about careers at the bank, including which qualifications are needed and what sort of personal qualities are needed. Depending on the tole you may have to complete an application form and go through two or more interviews, as well as the checking and vetting for the roles which require it. Most banks will always take up references from pervious employers too, so this can cause problems for those recently arrived from overseas.