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Investment banks have so far been reluctant to cut their graduate intakes after they were left with a post-crisis shortage of juniors. This is changing.

Investment banks have now started cutting graduate recruitment targets

Investment banks in London scaled back their graduate recruitment targets for 2016, after a difficult final quarter last year that has led to big job cuts at most firms.

Big investment banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, RBS and UBS shaved a collective 280 graduate jobs from their 2016 target intakes in the final three months of the year, according to new figures on the graduate market released by High Fliers.

In September, banks intended to bring in 2,200 new juniors, but this figure was cut to 1,920 in December as the business environment soured in the final quarter of 2015. It’s not a disaster, however, as it still represents 14 more open roles than investment banks filled throughout 2015.

Getting a first job in investment banking is tough enough and now invariably involves getting at least one summer internship with the bank you wish to work for. For the past few years, most banks have been reluctant to cut graduate intakes even as recruitment slid away elsewhere. This appears to be changing.

Banks are in competition with Big Four accounting firms and consultants for the same pool of elite graduates. While banks pull back, consultants increased their graduate recruits by 30% on 2014 and accounting firms by 12.3%. The big professional services firms are increasing their intakes by a massive 31.4% again, while consultants are likely to bring in over 1,060 new juniors.

Investment banks have, however, increased pay. The average salary for new graduates is now £47k – a £2k increase on the median payout in 2014 – and the biggest salary on offer increased from £50k to £56k year on year.

Photo: michaeljung/iStock/Thinkstock

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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