Employers demand some special soft and hard skills from job seekers in any private or corporate job advertisement. In addition to age, education and experience, they set various soft skill sets for selection criteria. For example, employers often want job seekers to be talented, intelligent, proactive, self-motivated or self-starters, young and energetic, committed, target-oriented, able to work under pressure, aspirant, and ready to work anywhere, etc.
Employers indeed are free to set their recruitment criteria as they will and have the right to choose candidates whom they think best suitable for their organisations. And, since jobs are like golden deer, such choices and conditions of employers are not unreasonable. For the same reason, many employers tactfully avoid candidates' salary and other benefits in job advertisements.
In the interview board, only the employers get to question and examine the job seekers. The jobs seekers are often not given a chance to ask anything. Job seekers are thus fed with the medicine of subordination and are made to perceive their job as a mercy from their employers, even before joining. But in reality, job seekers are the 'givers', and employers are the 'takers'.
Banks are not an exception from other corporate or multinational employers, but they are always brave enough to mention the salary amount in job advertisements. In fact, in most cases, a handsome salary is offered to the freshers.
Many leading banks offer their Management Trainee Officers / Probationary Officers a handsome monthly consolidated pay of Tk 40 thousand to Tk 50 thousand per month.
When a recently graduated unemployed university student who is used to maintaining a bachelor life with around Tk 5 thousand a month gets hired in such positions, he often gives up all his dream jobs. He gets enticed to an initially high-paying job without analysing 30-35 years' career potentiality in the job.
But this ambitious initial salary is actually a kind of trap. Many experienced senior bankers compare the lucrative salary of the post of 'probationary officer' or 'management trainee officer' with a sort of 'financial trap' to lure the talented university freshers.
Expert bankers think that a job seeker should also have the freedom to choose employers. They should also have a chance to inquire about their employers in the interview board and bargain about their salary, fringe benefits, and potentiality of the job.
Because, after a few years, your job responsibility and pressure compared to your pay and level of job satisfaction may change your thoughts about your job.
When you remain in the same grade year after year, the promotion becomes uncertain, your home loan application gets declined on budget unavailability, you end up availing loan at a general commercial rate, and plenty of unachievable business targets make you flattened, then you will find your dream job worthless.
Before falling in love with a bank job, do not just prioritise the initial attractive salary. Instead, consider these 11 major things carefully before joining a bank:
A friendly and comfortable work environment is the precondition to render your best performance in your service. Good corporate culture and good governance in the bank are the major determinants of the work environment. The perception of both the employees and the public about the bank will give you a picture of the bank's positioning, governance and corporate culture it practices. Carefully research, do its board and management work independently? Can employees do their jobs without interference from the board of directors?
Hierarchy (no. of grades from MTO/Probationary Officer to Managing Director)
The number of grades and years of service required for each promotion will determine how far you can go in your career path. Government banks have about nine grades from Officer to Managing Director, whereas private banks have more or less about 15-20 grades from Junior Officer to Managing Director. So before choosing a bank to join, try to depict a ladder of your 30-year career path where you can position yourself in the hierarchy over the life cycle of your career.
Be sure of the probation/contract period clearly – 6 months, one year or two years? Would you be automatically absorbed in the next higher grade after the probation/contract period is over, or would you have to sit for a written exam along with the evaluation of probation/contract period performance in terms of deposit managed, card and loan sold etc.? Or, will it depend on the will of any supreme one? You may get clues from existing employees about what is practised by the bank on completion of the probation/contract period of a probationer/contractual employee.
Leave policy including leave accumulation and leave encashment
Does the bank comply with the Bangladesh Bank guidelines regarding leave? Will you be allowed to avail all the allotted leaves? Is there also a policy that will enable the unconsummated leaves to be accumulated and encashed/monetised while resigning or retiring?
You may be auto promoted after completion of certain years in service. Or in addition to service length, you may be evaluated based on what amount of deposit you procured, how many credit cards you sold, or you have to sit for a written exam followed by viva voce. If you are auto promoted, your hard work and good performance may not have any role in your career progress – you will be promoted concurrently with the nonperformers.
Posting, transfer and job rotation
Would you be posted at a branch near where your spouse is posted? Would you be allowed to be groomed up in all-around banking jobs like general banking, credit, trade finance by rotating your job from one desk/department to another, one branch to another, rural branch to urban branch, non-AD branch to AD branch, branch to division, division to the unit?
Increment and salary revision
Annual increment is a normal course of a job. Increment and periodic salary revision are rewarded to the employees by their excellent and solvent employers as a tool to adjust against inflation. But you must be sure whether a minimum of one increment yearly is sanctioned for each confirmed employee or made subject to the employees' business performance. Also, know how often the bank revised its salary scale in the last ten years to get an idea about its salary revision possibility in the days ahead.
Loan facility at the bank rate
As you are going to be a banker, you will be able to get a personal loan and house building loan etc, from your bank. But do not forget to enquire the interest it will charge you – commercial rate or concessional rate or bank rate? I think this is one of the top three factors you need to give much weightage while choosing a bank to join because saving two percent interest per year on your 50 lac taka home loan for 20 years means a lot.
Car and housing facilities
You will get house rent and house maintenance allowance as part of your salary. Know its amount, and also know whether you would get rent free accommodation and transportation from your bank. Also know when you would be eligible for getting your own car from your bank. Will it be rewarded automatically upon your promotion to a certain higher grade or will it require performance show-up and lobbying?
At the end of service, what monetary benefit would you receive from your bank – gratuity equal to last basic times service years, or gratuity equal to last basic times service years times two? If you resign anytime from service, would you get back both your and bank's PF contribution and proportionate gratuity and other monetary benefits?
Is there an easy exit for you when you will think of quitting or switching to other banks or FIs? There may be a time bar for quitting, but you may not be allowed to quit before completing five years of service. Or, you may be penalised by cutting your PF, gratuities; and even you may have to surrender a fixed amount of money to the employer as compensation, say, three months' basic or one month's gross salary.
The author is a banker