Graduates in Hong Kong might not have been that keen on banking jobs last year, but looks like things have changed in the current economic landscape.
Earlier in the week, Goldman Sachs told the Financial Times it received more than a quarter of a million applications from students and graduates for jobs this summer.
The number of applications from students and graduates at the investment bank globally have risen more than 40% since 2012.
J.P. Morgan said it got 40% more graduate applications for investment banking this year than in 2014.
Plus, Morgan Stanley said its North American investment banking division was now attracting about 8,000 applications a year, up from “6,000 plus” in 2006-07.
From the numbers, it looks like investment banks have nothing to fear from Google and other tech companies which are highly popular among the young generation of job seekers.
Some had credited the banking sector’s effort in trying to attract Millennials.
“There’s a switch toward greater understanding of the types of lives people want to lead. As that affects policies, it creates less of a perceived difference between some industries and others,” Jennifer Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership, an organisational research company told MarketWatch.
Despite the rise in interest for banking jobs, people are quitting such roles at an alarming rate.
For instance, efincancial career tracked 11 fresh graduates who entered the investment bank’s Hong Kong branch in 2014.
Out of these, four, or 36%, have left the firm after a two year stint.
Among the four who had left, two are now working in private equity, for Stirling Square Capital Partners and Blackstone Group.
Another now works for SocGen in equity derivatives.
The only one who went on completely different career paths, joined Hello Fresh, a food box delivery service, in Berlin as their global business development and investor relations.
They are taken from a small sample, but they suggest that just because Goldman Sachs is capable of attracting 250,000 graduate applicants in a year, it’s not necessarily able to hold onto them long term.
Managing director at Links International, Nick Lambe, told Human Resources that investment banks might not necessarily be the final destination for fresh graduates.
He thinks that although most banking jobs still offer high pay, many are using their experiences in an investment banking role as a stepping stone to other career goals.
“Internships with IBanks can be interesting, challenging and diverse, which could make the individual’s CV stand out from the crowd. For example, an internship as a TMT analyst in an investment bank might give the intern better insight into tech start-ups and firms in the region and therefore help them get into the roles they want to do longer term,” he said.
“Many Millennials are attracted to entrepreneurial/start-up environments that allow work-life balance and creativity and therefore large multinational investment banks may not be top of their priority list, especially when the bonuses of yesteryear aren’t as prevalent,” Lambe added.
There are also those who think it is not worth looking into the numbers.
“The idea that suddenly people don’t want to go into banking — or if they do go into banking that they stay for a bit and leave immediately — a lot of that has been exaggerated,” said Sam Dean, Barclays’ co-head of Emea banking.
According to him, the higher number of applications partly reflects the fact that there are fewer investment banks now, after the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers during the financial crisis.