Banking was for many decades seen as the go to destination for financially savvy graduates, with scores of 1st class Oxbridge and LSE economics grads competing for hallowed front office positions at JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and the holy grail of Goldman Sachs.
For these students, a job at one of these institutions was a ticket to a high status international lifestyle along with generous remuneration. Hiring season would see legions of suited bright sparks leaving quaint Oxbridge college quads behind as they headed off to the city for endless rounds of assessment centres and insight weeks.
While banking is still seen as a highly desirable destination for the cream of graduate talent, scenes of Lehman-esque mass layoffs during the recession have put a dampener on its appeal, as have legends of long hours. Banks report a downturn in applications, as the perceived laidback, strike-it-rich opportunities in tech and the security of the legal profession attract more and more talent. Indeed, the downturn in applications has actually prompted some banks to cut their intakes.
However, the dip in popularity for graduate banking positons is good news for those still wanting to enter what remains an exciting, dynamic and rewarding profession. Knowing they need to sharpen up in order to offset the silicon-roundabout exodus, banks are limiting the hours juniors work and ensuring staff have a positive work-life balance.