One strong theme that emerged from the Odgers Berndtson survey of the state of global banking was the major impact of millennials in the workplace. Just how are banks coping and getting to grips with this influential new generation of talent?

The millennial generation has brought a whole new mindset to the wholesale banking industry. In fact, our recent Odgers Berndtson Global Banking report reveals that for many of the 50 senior bankers we interviewed, they are the biggest force changing the wholesale banking industry.

Bankers told us that millennials can be impatient, restless and entitled, but overall it seems they are having a positive impact on the working culture of their banks.

“We are seeing a change in mindset for the better: they learn from their failures, value honesty, seek out work with a purpose, and do the best they can for their clients and society.”

At the same time, the competition for young talent among banks, private equity firms and tech companies is stiff. So while their bosses may not always understand them, wholesale banks are working hard to retain millennial talent, as our report illustrates.

Moving targets

Big banks are also noticing high turnover at the junior level as some millennials drift on to entrepreneurial FinTech start-ups or to boutique private equity firms.

As one banker put it, “the war for talent is real at a junior level.” Others added, “they are a scarce resource in a very competitive, global talent market” and “they interview the bank and not the other way around.”

Successful strategies

So how can wholesale banks keep high-value, high-potential millennials engaged and loyal? Many banks are taking a multi-pronged approach, in the hope of improving retention:

  • creating forums where junior employees can speak directly to senior management
  • investing in graduate training and mentoring programmes
  • offering both practice group, and geographical rotations

The most innovative approach we heard was from a senior banker in South Africa:

“We are looking at ways to use technology to cut down on menial tasks and provide younger staff with more puzzles, more agility and less bureaucracy. In that way, we’re creating more of a gaming culture, as far as that’s possible in a highly-regulated environment."

Get the full picture in our free report

Wholesale banking is a traditional business, but the cultural change being driven by younger staff is, according to our survey, at least as influential as technological change and other disruptive forces.

To download the Odgers Berndtson Report ‘Technology, talent and trust. The state of global wholesale banking’, click below.

Download report now

Global Banking Executive Search

Odgers Berndtson’s Global Banking Practice works with Corporate and Investment Banks around the world. Our deep industry and sector knowledge means we understand our clients’ strategic imperatives and how these impact on the senior leadership talent they need to attract and retain.

We forge deep relationships with our clients to ensure we understand their specific business goals and cultural dynamics, maximising our ability to identify and engage the best industry or cross-industry talent. Strong relationships with other Odgers Berndtson Partners in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, Middle East and South Africa delivers a seamless regional and global execution of searches, assessments and appointments. To find out more, please get in touch.

Nick Miller

Nick is a Partner in the Financial Services Practice at Odgers Berndtson. Based in London, he specialises in senior appointments within corporate, investment and wholesale banking and has successfu...

Nick Burnham

Nick is a Partner and Head of the Asia Pacific Financial Services practice, having joined Odgers Berndtson Singapore office in May 2017 and appointed practice head in February 2018.



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