In a job advertisement of any private or corporate organisation, there are some special skills demanded by the employers, some of which are hard skills and some are soft skills. In addition to age, education and experience as hard skills, various soft skills are also set as selection criteria. For example, almost every employer wants the job seekers to be (i) talented (ii) intelligent (iii) proactive (iv) self-motivated or self-starter (v) young and energetic (vi) committed (vii) target-oriented (viii) able to work under pressure (ix) aspirant (x) ready to work anywhere etc.
Actually employers are free to set their own recruitment criteria and have the right to choose candidates whom they think best suitable for their organisations.And, since jobs are much precious and difficult to achieve, such choices and conditions imposed by employers are not unreasonable. For the same reason, many employers tactfully avoid mentioning a candidate's salary and other benefits in job advertisements. Even in the interview board, employers only question and testify the job seekers, the job seekers are not given any chance to ask anything. Thus, even before starting the job, the job seekers are made to perceive their job as a mercy from their employers. But in reality, over time, job seekers become the 'givers' and employers the 'takers'!
Although banks are not an exception from other corporate or multinational employers in these matters, they are always brave to mention the salary figure in the job advertisements. In fact, in most cases, a very attractive salary is offered to the freshers. Many leading banks offer their Management Trainee Officers/Probationary Officers (highest entry-level post in private commercial banks) a handsome monthly payment. A just-graduated student thinks there can be no job bigger than this. He gives up all his dream jobs and gets enticed to an initially high-paying job without analysing 30-35 years' career potentiality in the job. At the same time, the hunger to get 'my own home and car' devours him quickly.
But in the present context, this ambitious initial salary is really a pity for most bankers. Many experienced senior bankers compare the lucrative salary of this post with a kind of 'financial trap' to lure talented students. Expert bankers think that, like the employer, the job seeker should also have the freedom to choose. They should also be given the chance to enquire their employers in the interview board and allowed to bargain about their benefits– both salary and fringe benefits 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 will have to remain in the same grade year after year, promotion becomes uncertain, home loan application declined, have to avail loan at a general commercial rate, have to officiate till the eve of eids, plenty of unachievable business targets flatten you, you will find your dream job worthless!
That's why, before falling in love with a bank job and joining any bank, don't just give priority to the beginning attractive (!) salary only. After evaluating many other things decide whether to join and where to join.
Before joining a bank, major things other than salary to be evaluated by the freshers are:
Work environment: A congenial 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 the employees as well as the public about the bank will give you a picture of the bank's positioning, governance and corporate culture it practices.Hierarchy: 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 9 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.
Confirmation policy: 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 evaluation of probation/contract period performance in terms of deposit managed, card and loan sold etc? Or, will it depend on the will of high officials? You may get clues from existing employees about what actually is practiced by the bank.
Leave policy: Does the bank comply with the Bangladesh Bank guidelines regarding leave? Would you be allowed to avail of all the allotted leaves, and is there also a policy that allows the unavailing leaves to be accumulated and encashed while resigning or retiring?
Appraisal policy: 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 performance may not have any role in your career progress or regress-- you will be promoted concurrently with those who are even nonperformers!
Consistency and time length of promotion: Promotion at the right time is very vital for your career progress as well as for your job satisfaction. Some banks follow a promotion policy of 3 years' service length, whereas others of 2 years. So think of which bank is better-- a bank that promotes its employees 5 times in 10 years or a bank that promotes its employees only once or twice in 10 years? Giving promotion at a certain time every year and making it effective from the following day of appraisal year is an applaudable thing for a bank.
Posting, Transfer and Job Rotation: Would be posted at a branch nearby 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 branch?
Recognition, Reward and Punishment Policy: Your job must have challenges to measure your performance and prove your potential. But at the same time, there should be good policy, practice and example of rewarding performing employees with additional increments, accelerated promotion, financial and non-financial incentives and reproving nonperforming employees by withholding increments, promotions regularly.
Increment and Salary Revision: Yearly increment is a normal course of a job. Increment and periodic salary revision are rewarded to the employees by their good 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 it is made subject to the business performance of the employees.
Festival and Incentive Bonuses: Does the bank make its employees enjoy every religious and national occasion with festivity? Does it share every year a portion of its profit with its employees?
Loan facility: As you are going to be a banker, you will be able to get a personal loan and house building loan easily from your bank. But don’t forget to enquire the interest it will charge for you-- commercial rate or concessional rate or bank rate?
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 transport from your bank or it will provide you with car and ready flat free of cost after certain years of service.
Medical assistance policy: Does your bank have any medical arrangement with reputed national and international hospitals from where you and your family members can get treatment free or at concessional cost, or will your bank be ready to bear all expenses of your any fatal disease treatment?
Gratuity: 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?
Resignation policy: Is there an easy exit for you when you will think of quitting or switching to other banks or FIs?
Death Benefits: Is there any humanitarian policy of the employer at your death during service tenure? Would your loan or interest get a waiver or any of your eligible family members get a job in your bank in case of your premature death?
Insurance Facility: If you lose any vital part of your body, say eyesight, hand, leg etc or get physically or mentally disable how your bank will take your and your family responsibility?
The writer is a banker