Last updateFri, 24 Mar 2017 12pm


Why financial services workers leave, and what firms can do to make them stay

Retention is one of the most pressing concerns of employers worldwide, and financial services is no exception.   

Keeping hold of talented workers is important from a financial, cultural and branding perspective. But a recent eFinancialCareers survey found that globally, few finance professionals seem to be committed to their employer long-term and most are poised to jump ship.

eFinancialCareers surveyed nearly 9,000 finance professionals globally, of which over 3,000 are employed in the United Kingdom, about their career prospects and aspirations, and asked them where they would like to work and why.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly over three quarters of UK-based finance professionals (77%) say that their current employer is an enjoyable place to work. 

That said the underlying message is clear: this population is fluid, and ready to jump on the next opportunity that will bring them increased compensation or better career prospects. Of those surveyed in the UK, only 14%  of respondents said they are not looking for a new position, and the remaining 86% are either actively searching for a new job or are open to new opportunities. Bankers are poised to take flight – a reality employers cannot afford to ignore.

We asked finance professionals who their employer of choice was.  Of those actively looking or simply scanning the market for opportunities, 32% said they didn’t have an employer of choice, compared to 52% of those not interested in changing jobs. 

For those expressing a choice, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and BlackRock were the top three choices. 

The global ranking is identical, with the US powerhouses dominating: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and BlackRock.  When asked on what criteria they choose their employer of choice, finance professionals in the UK cited company reputation (34%), closely followed by career prospects (31%), and in third position, compensation (12%).

eFinancialCareers also found that when professionals are actively looking for a new role, the biggest factor that weighs on their decision is their career prospects.  Unsurprisingly, a quarter of them (25%) cited the lack of career progression as the main trigger for their decision to change employer.

For those who are scanning the market, money appears to be more critical (36%) when securing a new role.  Of those who said increased compensation, nearly 4 in ten (39%) said they would need a raise of between 10 and 19% of their current compensation, and a third (33%) said they need 20 to 29% in order to convince them to move on.

To get a sense of what keeps employees in their workplace, eFinancialCareers asked workers who are not interested in changing jobs what keeps them happy.  The main satisfaction factor is “the people I work with” (19%), followed by the level of autonomy (17%), and career progression (16%).  Over a third (35%), however, said that increased compensation would incentivize them to leap.

The takeaway for employers is that workers leave when they feel trapped without career prospects. But all hope is not lost for employers hoping to make retention inroads with their current workforce, and effective workplace communication could be the starting point of change. After all, over half (54%) of those surveyed said they would be up for a job with their current employer.

Further, (when increased compensation is taken out of the equation), 41% of respondents say that in the event they were offered an outside role, they would consider a counter-offer from their current employer if it included a promotion or defined career progression. And yet, half (50%) of those surveyed said they never have regular meetings with their manager to discuss career progression.

“Employers hoping to improve their retention rates should develop a culture of reward for good work – both in terms of compensation and career progression. For those who are actively looking for a new position, over half said they started their job search one year or less after getting hired. They decided very quickly that they would not be sticking around. Employers clearly need to do a better job of delivering on the promises they make to new hires,” comments James Bennett, Global Managing Director of eFinancialCareers.

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