Fear factor created by banks' cost cutting will cause staff exodus

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Employees on Wall Street, and those working at other financial institutions, are concerned about keeping their jobs. But a recent survey showed that financial services companies may underrate the value employees put on job security.

This comes as the threat of layoffs is seen at many top banks. For instance, JPMorgan is laying off hundreds of tech-support workers, and the Bank of America is letting staff go, too, as well as Citigroup and Bank of New York Mellon.

Laura Sejen, a managing director at Towers Watson, which released the recent survey, told eFinancialCareers, “US employees working in financial services indicate that job security is a key driver of both attraction and retention.”

Job security was the third most frequently cited reason both to take a job and quit - out of 27 categories, she said about the survey results from financial services employees.

“Participating financial services firms in the US ranked job security 7th among attraction drivers and 16th among retention drivers, so clearly there is a disconnect between financial services firms and their employees in terms of the importance of job security,” she added.

In addition, employees in financial services ranked trust and confidence in senior leadership as the fourth most important factor in retention. But financial services firms failed to list it in the top seven factors. That ranking comes as many banks globally are under investigation for improper behavior. For instance, Citigroup agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a U.S. government inquiry and BNP Paribas will pay nearly $9 billion for violating U.S. sanctions.

“Financial services firms that ignore the impact of senior leadership on their employees’ decision to stay with or leave their company may be contributing to undesirable attrition risk,” Sejen warned.

Many employees themselves expect to be able to shift jobs over their careers, with more turnover now present. Some 35% of the companies across different sectors globally said in the survey that turnover was increasing.

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