Business is booming for investment banks globally in 2021. With an increase in market and trading activities, the rise of the SPAC trend taking companies public in new ways, and the unpredictability caused by the pandemic, banks are busier and more profitable than ever. However, it hasn’t been without a cost. Junior bankers have spoken out against the negative toll this year of nonstop work has taken on their mental and physical health.
Being an investment banking analyst has never been easy, though for many, the pay and opportunities born out of the job have always outweighed the long hours and high-pressure client demands. But as entry-level bankers were forced into the solitary and boundary-less lifestyle of work-from-home, the workload, expectations, and culture of the job took a turn for the worse.
Thankfully, many firms have been open to this feedback and are interested in making changes to the system, in addition to providing supplementary comp and perks to retain these vital contributors.
As former investment bankers ourselves, we can empathize with the grind and commitment expected of analysts and associates. Banking is never going to be a 9-5 gig, and is always likely to involve high levels of stress and weekend work (which is why those who secure these positions are compensated so well). It’s simply not a job for everyone.
CONSIDERING THE CANDIDATE
That said, creating better outcomes for both candidates and firms is an essential problem to solve. Utilizing data that examines factors such as a candidate’s values, work style preferences, or conflict management styles can help to avoid hires that may not work out long term. With technology, you can get the right people in the right roles, thereby reducing burnout or attrition.
By creating a more nuanced approach that looks at additional candidate components besides GPA or university selection (which are often misleading and bias-prone), the industry can become more inclusive and also more productive. Ensuring that a greater percentage of candidates hired quickly become high performers in the organization, reduces the amount of stress on the system and the people operating within it.
A.I. IN ACTION
Artificial Intelligence is used in a number of industries from logistics optimization and predictive maintenance in manufacturing to predicting treatment and care in the healthcare industry. When investment banks are looking to recruit, A.I. can help firms identify what will increase the probability of a candidate becoming a high performer that sticks around. Personality traits, cognitive competencies, and working styles are all relevant determinants that can be examined to predict future performance and longevity. This A.I.-driven approach can not only create better matches, but also dramatically reduce the time it takes for hiring decision makers to make their way down the recruiting funnel.
For example, a “target school” candidate might desire a high degree of sociability in their work environment and more responsibility or autonomy early in their career. This candidate may not be a great fit for a bulge bracket, where they are less likely to have 1-to-1 communication with clients or executives, even though they have all the standard resume requirements that could land them a prestigious position at any bank. It would be useful for hiring decision makers to have this information up front, avoiding a lot of unmet expectations, time wasted, and unhappiness for both parties.
In the end, people are better equipped to deal with stressful environments when the work they are doing is aligned with their personal goals, values, and way of working. Finding the “right fit” may seem like a “fluffy” solution, but it can actually have a meaningful impact on the health and productivity of a firm’s employees and the organization itself. Without this alignment, the process will continue to fail, and although offering perks or comp can be a short-term solution to communicate appreciation, the investment banking industry can address banker burnout by ensuring the best match closer to the top of the funnel.
Interested in how predictive recruiting can help your firm with candidate matching?