Getting an investment banking graduate job just got that little bit harder

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Investment banks are now gearing up for their annual recruitment programmes for the analyst class of 2017. If you're just thinking of applying now, and have no internship experience, the chances of you actually securing a full-time job are minute.

But, this year, as banks in London grapple with slumping revenues and the fall out from the Brexit vote, opportunities are even scarcer. Investment banks typically open their full-time analyst programmes up for applications towards the end of August and into September. This year, not only are some already open, but some firms' deadlines are fast approaching or certain divisions are already full.

Morgan Stanley's graduate programme for all divisions in London - whether that's the highly sought-after front office roles or the harder to fill back office and tech positions - is closing to applications on 26 August 2016. Last year, its securities division in London had a deadline of 1 November.

Most other investment banks are still keeping their grad programmes open to applications until late October or early November as is in previous years. But J.P. Morgan, which recruits on a rolling basis, has already filled its markets division and is not open to new applications. This is not without precedent - the U.S. bank has filled its IBD with summer internship conversions in previous years.

It's tough enough to make the cut for an investment banking job anyway. Last year, Goldman Sachs - which is also open to applications and has a deadline of 30 October - received 223,849 applications for its internship and full-time graduate programmes. This year it's implemented an automated interview process through Hirevue in order to supplement and cut down on in-person interviews. J.P. Morgan hired 2% of applications to its investment banking division last year, while Citigroup took on 2.7% of those who applied.

The reality is that only a tiny proportion of those who make the cut for any investment bank come through a 'cold' application directly through the autumn recruitment process. The proportion of full-time analysts who came through the summer internship process has risen from 75% in the pre-crisis days to around 90% currently, according to investment banks' recruiters. Increasingly, it's the Spring insight weeks, traditionally seen as an industry taster for first year students, that have become the all-important first step for securing a full-time role.

There's no need to panic entirely, however. Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Nomura, RBC Capital Markets and Macquarie have yet to open their graduate programmes to applications.

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