Getting them while they’re young
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Getting them while they’re young


I’m often surprised at the lengths to which banks will go these days to hire newbies.

It’s no secret that investment banks have been having a hard time of late in attracting new talent. The gilded age of wild partying and endless booze, loose compliance and even looser morals, and the attractions of fat salaries and bonuses are long gone.

We were once the envy of working class brethren, but suggest a career in finance to a young job seeker now and you might get a dirty look instead.

So it tickled me when, on a recent trip to meet a banker chum at his corner office in Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre, I saw a gaggle of kids in the lobby of his bulge bracket firm, talking happily with senior bankers.

These were high school students, my friend promptly told me, who his firm had invited over to spend a day with senior bankers.

Now, I’ve heard of mass recruitment events at Ivy League universities, but this was ridiculous. The hosts had pulled out all the stops and the little tykes were getting full day access to the most charming, top level, front office personnel, could watch traders in action, and finished the visit off with a nice spread of, presumably non-alcoholic, beverages and canapés.

The mission, it seemed, was to paint as positive a picture as possible of banking to make future recruitment easier.

Showing children the glamorous side of banking while plying them with food and drinks may be a little underhanded but you have to admire the bank’s creativity. It certainly proved that it’s never too early to set the wheels in motion.