Banks' forecast more graduate hiring but no pay rise

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Prospects for students leaving university and hunting for a job in investment banking are on the rise. A new survey suggests investment banks will boost their 2005 graduate intake by 33.3%

The annual recruitment survey of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the UK graduate employers' body, found banks are this year's most bullish recruiters. Across all UK industries, graduate vacancies are expected to rise just 14.5% this year.

Not all the new investment banking jobs will be in front office roles like corporate finance, however. The survey found banks planning to increase the number of trainee investment bankers by just 15%. Additional banking hires are likely to be in support roles such as IT, clearing and settlements and human resources.

Around 220 employers took part in the survey, including BNP Paribas, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, JP Morgan, Lazard, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley.

Banks were in a similarly bullish mood for last year's AGR survey, when they forecast graduate hires would rise 47% versus 2003. Carl Gilliard, chief executive of the AGR, said increases for two consecutive years suggest an element of catch up after banks cut their graduate intake in 2001 and 2002.

Gilliard says students should make the most of this year's strong hiring plans: 'Now is a good time to apply. Some people are saying they'd rather focus on getting a 2.i and apply later. But the market might not be so buoyant in 2006.'

Despite intending to increase the number of graduates hired, investment banks had no plans to raise graduate starting salaries. In 2005 they will average 35,000 in the sector, a figure that has remained constant for the past four years.

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