THE damage caused to banking’s image by the financial crisis is making it more difficult to recruit graduates into the industry, the head of one of Britain’s biggest banks has warned.
Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of Lloyds, said the sector was facing a skills shortage as a result of the reputational damage over the past few years.
Mr Horta-Osorio addressed students at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School last night after research by Lloyds found that just 2 per cent of students are considering a career in financial services.
Commenting on the research, Mr Horta-Osorio said: “We need to take steps as a sector towards rebuilding our reputation through how we behave and what we do.
“In tandem with this we urgently need to address the perception of banking as an attractive career opportunity for young people. The next generation should see banking as an industry that helps to build economic wealth and is playing its part as a useful member of our local communities.
“We want the best and the brightest to see banking as a credible career choice. This is vital for the industry’s long-term viability.”
Lloyds, which owns Bank of Scotland, said its research had identified a “talent drain” as banking’s negative reputation began to impact on recruitment.
According to its survey, 28 per cent of students would be “too embarrassed” to tell friends if they are going to work in a bank.
Meanwhile, 41 per cent of students responding to the survey said they distrust banks and financial services providers, while 56 per cent trust banks less than they did five years ago.
The survey of around 1,000 students found 58 per cent would be influenced by an organisation’s reputation when it came to their career decision.
Mr Horta-Osorio said “laying the foundations for a brighter future” for the banking sector meant attracting the “very best talent”.
“This will help ensure that the next generation of leaders in this sector continues to build a legacy of trust and quality that complements, rather than undermines, the markets and communities in which it exists,” he said.
The Graduate Market in 2013, a survey of the UK’s 100 leading graduate recruiters found just 48 per cent of firms had graduate vacancies in Scotland, those studying at Edinburgh and Strathclyde were more likely to find a top job than those studying at other Scottish universities.
Last year, Edinburgh University became the first Scottish institution to sign up to the Lloyds Scholars scheme