With a new university year well underway, a huge number of students will be approaching their final few months before entering the world of work. One of the most popular sectors for graduates entering the jobs market is banking & finance and our recent graduate survey revealed some fascinating insights into graduate recruitment in this area, as well as student’s experiences of the recruitment process. Let’s take a look at what we found out.

How Popular Are Finance Jobs Amongst Graduates?

Some students go to university knowing exactly what career they wish to pursue, others are less certain. Our survey respondents revealed that 15% of students who secured a job after graduating from university began working in the Engineering sector, closely followed by Banking & Finance with 12% and Marketing & PR at 9%. These results demonstrate that financial services remain one of the most popular industries for graduates.
This could be due to the wide variety of graduate schemes available in the financial industry sector, as well as the allure of high starting salaries. Banking & Finance has always been highly competitive when it comes to offering an alluring starting salary, as well as the chance for earnings to progress significantly over time.
Despite the financial allure of a career in finance it turns out that Marketing & PR was the industry sector that most graduates wanted to work in, with 17% of respondents selecting this as their preferred industry sector to work in after graduating.

What Matters Most to Graduates When Deciding Where to Work?

If you have decided a career in finance is for you, then what factor matters most to you when deciding which company to work for? We asked graduates the same question in our survey and it certainly revealed some interesting results.
It appears that training facilities for learning and development are valued extremely highly by graduates. 18% of respondents admitted that learning and development was the most important factor to them when choosing whether to work for a company.
In fact, 74% of graduates said they expected designated time to be set aside to focus on their continued learning and development.
Interesting job content came out on top as the most important factor with 26% of respondents valuing this most and salary was close behind with 25% of respondents prioritising this factor in choosing where to work.
In terms of the location of the job, only 1% of respondents answered that this was the most important factor, illustrating that the vast majority of graduates are not overly concerned with where the job is, and prefer to prioritise other factors instead. It appears that the modern-day graduate is happy to travel away from home to secure jobs and begin their career.
Finally, one observation that is often levelled at young people is that they are not concerned about regularly changing jobs, and this appears to have been borne out by the survey – only 2% prioritised job security as the most important factor.

What’s the Average Graduate Salary in Finance?

The average starting salary in banking and finance is usually between £29,000 and £31,000 alongside attractive bonus packages. This is compared to the reported average graduate starting salary of between £19,000 and £22,000, and so clearly there is a monetary benefit to working in finance, but what did our survey reveal about graduate starting salaries?
25% of graduates admitted that salary was the most important factor when choosing a company to apply for. How much a company is willing to pay clearly matters to graduates. Of those graduates surveyed, 41% started on £18,000 to £22,000, supporting the reported average starting graduate salary. 30% of them started on £22,001 to £26,000 and 15% started on £26,001-£30,000, showing that high-level salaries are a realistic expectation for many, especially in the banking and finance industry.

Graduate Opinions of the Recruitment Process

Banking and finance graduate schemes are highly competitive and the application process is normally a long and challenging process. In recent years one of the most popular ways for banks and financial institutes to test the ability of candidates has been through the use of online acquisition questionnaires. The argument for their use is that they provide a reliable and efficient way of assessing graduate suitability and talent at the early stages of the job application process.
Talent management solutions experts, Cubiks reveal that dynamic questionnaires improve engagement and reduce dropout rates by 30%. The company also revealed that questionnaires can reduce the time companies have to invest in the hiring process by up to 50%. So, it’s clear why large financial corporations use talent acquisition questionnaires, but what do graduates think about them?
Of those surveyed, 64% believe that online acquisition questionnaires were a good method for businesses to sort out appropriate prospective applicants. It appears then that most graduates deem online questionnaires as a valuable part of the application process.
This is perhaps understandable, as it gives graduates an opportunity to find out early on if they are well suited to a company without having to incur any travel expenses or invest significant time preparing for the interview process.

What Did We Learn About Graduate Careers in Banking & Finance?

The survey revealed that a career in banking and finance still remains one of the most popular for graduates. This industry sector provides a highly competitive starting salary, alongside other benefits, such as bonuses, a good holiday allowance and the opportunity to work abroad. If you want to work in banking and finance remember it is a highly competitive industry, but if you succeed in your application and apply yourself well, then it could be a highly fulfilling career.
Innovation Visual are digital marketing specialists who work with a number of globally recognised brands to improve their online performance.

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