You want to pursue a career in the banking sector/industry and are interested in knowing what it entails. Like any other career choice, you have to really deliberate about it and do your research before deciding to join this sector.
Here are some pointers
Qualifications & skills
Most banks will welcome graduates from various academic disciplines. A minimum requirement irrespective of the academic discipline is a degree – second class honors upper minimum (2:1). Some essential skills that you will require include:
- Ability to work under pressure
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Communication & presentation skills (oral and written)
- Computer literacy
- Numerical skills (math/science degree isn't essential, but you need to be comfortable with numbers)
- Teamwork ability
With that said, working in this sector will avail you a wide range of disciplines to work in with each offering different roles. These include:
- Corporate banking
- Investment banking
- Risk management
In order to work in this sector, you have to be someone who enjoys directly interacting with people and working with numbers. It definitely requires a person who is patient. It can be both rewarding and difficult. Some advantages of working in this sector include:
• Most banks offer a good salary along with excellent benefits (dental, medical, life insurance, etc.) as well as retirement packages, vacation benefits and sick/personal leave days.
• With the exception of a few banks, most banks offer daytime shifts leaving their employees to enjoy their free time in the evenings and on holidays and weekends. This means that you can choose to work for a bank whose working schedule fits the needs of your personal life.
• A good number of banks offer their employees opportunities for advancement. Many banks will reimburse or pay talented employees to advancing their education (with some requirements). A knowledgeable, skilled and experienced banker will be in demand for promotions within his/her bank and other competing banks.
Working in the banking industry means that you work with money. Money is a sensitive topic for many people and as such, dealing with bank customers can be quite stressful as they can become easily irritated and rude if transactions aren’t handled according to their satisfaction. Some disadvantages of working in this sector include:
• You will be required to adhere to a strict professional dress code (formal wear and no casual dressing). This is because a banker needs to portray an attitude of strength and wealth plus a professional conservative attitude towards customers’ money. If you prefer wearing casual wear, then this could present a challenge.
• Some positions will require you to stand on your feet all day (e.g. bank teller) while others may require you to sit the whole day looking at a computer screen formulating reports or crunching numbers.
• While the pay perks and benefits are good, working in this sector may at times require long hours of work which may not suit your personal lifestyle.