Press releases

Banking falls in popularity as a career choice for business students

16 October 2013

  • Global survey of 108,000 business students shows software and computer services sector rises in popularity and now on par with banking
  • Students considering a job in banking rate training and development more highly than pay and rewards
  • They plan a short stint at their first employer before switching jobs
  • Students considering a job in banking want a supportive and dynamic workplace - but don’t expect banks to provide it

    Banking is a less popular career choice among business students now than before the collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago, according to a new report from Deloitte.

    The Deloitte Talent in Banking Survey 2013* was conducted by Universum and asked 108,000 business students globally to rank their top five “ideal” employers. Featured companies were arranged into industry sectors and the attractiveness of each industry calculated by averaging the companies’ scores. The survey then examined in more detail the intentions, aspirations and expectations of 32,000 business students who identified a bank among their five ideal employers. It found:

    Banks’ popularity
    The popularity of working in the average bank** fell by five places to 35th out of a normalised group of 100 employers among students globally during the five-year period to 2013. However, banking remains the second most popular career choice among the analysed industries. Audit and accounting is the most popular. Its popularity increased in the last 12 months, although has fallen overall by six places to 26th since 2008. Manufacturing and engineering fell ten places to 72nd, while software and computer services rose six places to 36th.

    Work priorities
    Money matters to students planning a career in banking but they are more concerned with professional training and development - the most sought-after job attribute - than high future earnings, the second. Earning a good reference for their future career ranks third.

    Career expectations

    Students considering working in banking do not expect to achieve their career goals in the industry. Work-life balance and job security are their top goals but they don’t expect banks to provide them.

    Career stepping stones
    More than half of all students who are interested in working for a bank*** expect to move from their first employer within three years. More than eight out of ten (85%) expect to stay with their first employer for five years or fewer. Students appear to regard their first job in banking as a stepping stone to a future career that meets their top career goals.

    Kevin O’Reilly, partner at Deloitte, said:

    “The attitudes of business students to working in banking reflect the turbulence that the industry has endured since the start of the financial crisis. The popularity of working in the banking sector fell by five places globally and by four places in the UK.

    “One feature of the survey is how pragmatic those students interested in banking are. Work-life balance and job security are the top career goals for them.  However, these are not attributes normally associated with banking and many students appear to be planning a multi-stage career. Applicants want to work for banks because they are seen as a good place to lay the groundwork for a future career and more than half expect to change job within three years.

    “Banks must respond decisively if they are to continue to attract the best graduates and it is in their interests to recognise these changing attitudes and highlight attractions other than pay. It may be necessary to transform the career paths they offer graduates and emphasise the training and development they can provide as this is a key attraction for students who are interested in banking.”

    Download the report at


Notes to editors

About the research

*Deloitte’s report is based on data collected from a survey of 108,000 business students from 1,350 universities in Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The survey was conducted by Universum, a global consulting firm for employer branding that has been conducting student surveys since 1988. It examines the students’ career intentions and also the reasons behind those career plans.

** Global student ranking of attractiveness of employment across selected industries. The graph shows the popularity of average employers by sector normalised across 100 employers. The left-hand axis shows the average rankings of companies within each sector.

***Business students who named at least one bank among a list of five “ideal” employers.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

“The attitudes of business students to working in banking reflect the turbulence that the industry has endured since the start of the financial crisis." - Kevin O’Reilly, Partner at Deloitte

Did you find this useful?