What are the perceptions of banks’ hiring and application processes?

Darren Burns 05.08.2019

Numerous professionals apply for roles at banks across the UK every day, but how do these job seekers go about submitting an application for a new position?

The different views of job seekers across the UK of banks' hiring processes

We surveyed a selection of active UK based professionals to gain an understanding of their perceptions of hiring and application processes at banks, as well as what they, as a job seeker, do when applying for a new role. The majority of respondents stated the nature of their profession to be Risk Management, Compliance or Legal and the gender split was 62% male and 38% female.

Despite Diversity & Inclusion being important to the banking sector nowadays, it has historically been renowned as particularly male dominated. Attitudes are changing for the better and workforces are becoming more equal, but there is still a long way to go to ensure deep-rooted cultures are changed for good.

Click here to view a breakdown of findings by comparing male and female responses.

Confidence significantly increases after speaking to a recruitment consultant

Regardless of level, professionals still require an element of guidance when undertaking banks' hiring processes: 21% feel comfortable applying after seeing only an online job advert, 48% like to see the official job description and 31% would only apply after having a phone briefing from a recruiter. But when asked if they are more confident after communicating with a recruiter, the overwhelming majority claimed it made them significantly more confident (62%), followed by slightly more confident (21%) and only 17% see no benefit from speaking with a recruiter. This suggests that recruiters, acting as SMEs in a jobseekers area of expertise, are a valuable asset throughout the application process. Comparing this across genders, a greater proportion of male respondents (69%) claimed to be significantly more confident after communicating with a recruiter than female respondents (50%).

What do job seekers require before applying?

When asked how many applications they expect to make before securing a new role, most (41%) stated ‘more than 10’, followed by '5-10' (33%) and only 26% claimed to be successful in 'less than 5' applications. Following directly on from this, respondents were asked how long they spend doing research prior to submitting an application: 5% claimed to do no research at all, 43% do less than one hour, 31% do 1-3 hours and 21% research for more than 3 hours. Generally, it seems men expect to apply for more roles before they are successful than women, but women spend significantly more time researching before applying - only 15% of men spend more than 3 hours researching, whilst the figure was 31% for women. This clearly displays how an appropriate amount of preparation pays dividends when it comes to application processes.

How closely do professionals’ skills have to match the job specification?

It is apparent that professionals will apply for roles that may not be a full match to their profile - 5% will apply regardless of the skill level outlined in the specification, 19% as long as they have half of the skills on the job spec, 57% as long as they have 70% of skills listed, 19% only if they have 90% of the skills. Nobody said they will ‘only apply if skills exactly match the job description’. This said, women seem to be more selective and are more likely to apply for a role the closer the job specification matches their experience; men appear to put themselves forward for almost anything which may explain the earlier point of submitting more applications before success.

The majority of professionals claim to apply in less than 6 hours (48%) or within 12 hours (14%) after seeing a job specification, whilst the rest are significantly slower - within 1-2 days (26%), within 3-4 days (10%) and within 2 weeks (2%).

The most valuable thing for job seekers to know before applying for a position is the specific role responsibilities, followed by remuneration and background/experience, and least valued is company information. Women value finding out about the company more than men before submitting an application, suggesting they care slightly more about the employer and culture than the seemingly egoistic men who base their decision on their individual role alone.

Eye of the beholder...

Having looked at 2000 placements at a cross section of recruiters in the Financial Services space, there appears to be some correlation between the gender of the recruiter and the level of female placements made. It would appear that female recruiters have a more diverse network and therefore are placing more females in their community. Across both genders, the average percentage of female placements was 37%; split by gender it was 32% for male recruiters and 42% for female recruiters.

Just what is the root cause?

How does a company get their message across? Do banks need to encourage more female representatives to attend forums, and as such, could this be a platform for illustrating key messages about companies’ Diversity & Inclusion strategies? We analysed the gender split of attendees at recent events to gain an understanding of whether organisations are prompting their female employees to attend events:

  1. Legal seminar with HR professionals - 68 on the attendee list - 95% female

  2. Stress management in the workplace - 104 on the attendee list - 69% female

  3. Diversity event - 134 attendees - 54% female

  4. IR35 in the Private Sector - 74 attendees - 47% female 

  5. Future of Finance part 1 - 60 attendees  - 47% female 

  6. Future of Risk part 1 - 45 attendees - 38% female

Striving to improve the representation of females in banks

A considerable number of women are deterred from entering the banking industry because of the perceived alpha male culture. For this reason, banks are taking significant steps to improve the Diversity & Inclusion within their businesses. Whilst the survey findings above only provide a brief insight into how job seekers react to application processes, there are some interesting findings that banks may find useful if they want to attract more female professionals.

Darren Burns's picture
Operations Director