Why Starting Your Career in Retail Banking as a Junior Professional

Rupert Hay
March 25, 20194 mins read

With the stupendous volume of financial transactions being carried out in retail banking, very little room is left for small mistakes and errors.

Therefore, financial institutions need to employ the best pool of talent in order to ensure the needs of their consumers are met. The retail banking sector deals with the provision of financial products and services to consumers at large. Some of these include loans, mortgages, remittance services, bank and savings accounts, personal credit services among others. Some financial institutions offer private banking, insurance, stock brokerage as well as wealth management, most of which are offered by the bank's affiliate. With the evolution of technology, the retail banking sector is adopting financial technology strategies and solutions for more effective banking and better customer service.
As a junior professional who is just starting out, it is quite easy to navigate through the world that retail banking is. Banking encompasses a variety of careers in the industry and there is a vast breadth of opportunities ranging from front office roles, IT to risk management and so on. Nowadays, most banks run specialized graduate programs whose aim is to recruit potential graduates into various areas of specialty. These programs tend to be rotational and might go on for more than a year whereby candidates get to experience working in different departments which equips them with a better understanding of how the organization works as a whole.

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Throughout the recruitment process, junior professionals are able to undergo formal training programs and learn about their roles while on the job. Here, they are given responsibilities to take care of as they undergo supervision by a senior head of the department. Junior professionals also benefit from mentorship programs offered whereby they are attached to a senior professional to be their mentor throughout the process in order to guide them. Once the program ends, one is able to be given a role that suits them best and in which they perform optimally. With time, some junior professionals are given small-scale projects to manage which might change depending on the client-work and business needs. These projects mainly revolve around the creation of new products and services, handling customers or providing technical support for various divisions in the organization.
When it comes to a career path, graduates are fortunate to be exposed to different products offered during the training program for them to choose from. Once a junior professional starts out as a graduate trainee, they are able to advance their career vertically. This basically means they can go up the corporate ladder to land managerial positions. It is also possible for their careers to advance horizontally where they can transition from one division in the organization to a different one depending on preference. Career progression can be enhanced or made faster by a junior professional obtaining more qualifications such as diplomas.
In this industry, graduates from various educational backgrounds are welcomed since there are diverse roles in these organizations. Apart from technical skill, it is important for a graduate to have great soft skills in order to stand out from the wide pool of competent applicants. These skills include the ability to communicate efficiently and eloquently, interpersonal skills, teamwork as well as self-drive.
It is also recommendable for graduates to have great customer-interaction skills as it’s a big part of the job scope as most of the time will be spent on helping customers if at all they have any queries. Besides that, great management and organizational skills, as well as commercial and consumer awareness, will definitely be a bonus as an applicant for an entry-level job within the retail banking sector.
A good advantage of working in this industry is that it is quite fast-paced which makes it exciting. One is constantly learning new things and technologies which helps grow their skill and potential with time. Moreover, there are great benefits to enjoy such as lucrative bonuses and immense growth opportunities which make the industry seem attractive. However, we shouldn’t forget that every industry has its own cons. Crunch time such as launching a new product or service tends to be quite stressful for example.
If you are looking for a front office role in retail banking, please feel free to contact me for a confidential discussion.

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Rupert Hay's picture
Associate Director | Financial Services Front Office


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