A ranking of the top 20 ‘ideal’ financial services employers

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Financial services professionals appear to be seeking the relative stability of a career in large U.S. institutions, with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and BlackRock topping the ranking of desirable firms to work for, according the results of a recent eFinancialCareers survey on career aspirations.

This is not surprising – Goldman and JPMorgan regularly battle for the top spots in the global investment banking league tables, they’re still paying bonuses predominantly in cash (even up to $1m) and are among the few banks not to have retreated from any business areas. Given the option of working for any organisation, financial services professionals responding to the survey chose these two banks over any other firm. BlackRock, meanwhile, is the world’s largest asset management firm, with over $4.4 trillion in assets under management, and has been consistently adding to its headcount over the past couple of years.

Less obvious entrants to the top ten are HSBC, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Barclays, however.


Barclays is going through huge restructuring currently, cutting 7,000 jobs from its investment bank – or 27.5% of total headcount – and will be pulling out of certain business areas entirely. It’s been losing senior investment bankers across the U.S., UK and Asia who are looking for new opportunities at rival firms. Deutsche, meanwhile, has vowed to remain in fixed income businesses rivals like Barclays and UBS are exiting, but rumours of ongoing cost-cutting persist.

HSBC is in the midst of a programme to eliminate 14,000 jobs globally, while French investment banks have traditionally held less appeal than their state-side rivals, but BNP Paribas still ranks above the likes of Citi, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.

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Longer term, unveiling a bold move to cut headcount on a large-scale quickly, can ultimately be beneficial, says Andrew Pullman, former head of HR at Dresdner Bank who now runs consultancy People Risk Solutions.

“Implementing redundancies in dribs and drabs creates uncertainty, effects employee motivation and productivity, and inevitably means losing people you would rather keep,” he says. “Companies who make a big, bold announcements often come out on the other side in better shape because at least it draws a line in the sand for current employees.”

This might explain the appeal of UBS, which ranked eighth despite the fact it decided to pull out of certain fixed income business and lay off 10,000 people in 2012. This has since been viewed by many analysts as a bold move that should be echoed by other banks, and one that has helped to shore up its share price.

Goldman Sachs is particularly popular among junior employees, with 17% of 20-24 year-olds responding to the survey saying they wanted to work at the bank, compared to just 7% who listed BlackRock as their ideal employer – the nearest competitor.

Click here to view the full results of the eFinancialCareers Career Satisfaction & Retention survey

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