What students want from a financial services job

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If you interview for an investment banks’ graduate scheme, you will invariably ask why you’ve applied to that particular firm, and you’d better have a good answer other than the information available on their website.

Banks go out of their way to emphasise their culture, brand and uniqueness and expect graduates to have researched enough to tell them what makes their company stand out. But what do graduates want from banks?

Universum, a research firm focused on the graduate market, has just released a new survey on what students focusing on the financial sector want from a potential employer.

Understandably in the current climate, when it comes to employer reputation, the number one criteria among UK students is financial strength, followed by market success and then ‘inspiring management’. Students in the US also valued financial success, as did those in China, but German graduates are seeking exciting products and services, while Japanese candidates (bizarrely) look to social corporate social responsibility first.

There is, at least, a minor sense of realism over pay expectations among UK and US students, both of which value ‘high future earnings’ above an immediately competitive base salary. German students expect to earn from the outset, however, while both Chinese and Japanese graduates hope to meet someone who can provide a good reference to advance their career in the future.

UK students value the prospect of professional development and training as the main selling point of the actual job, however, as do those in the US and China. Super-enthusiastic German and Japanese graduates want a challenging workload. UK students appear the most mobile – they’re the only group to cite travel or relocation opportunities as an attractive attribute for a job.

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