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The very best bankers will come from Finland, the Netherlands or Korea. The very worst, from the U.S.A

Probably not banker material

Probably not banker material

As anyone who works in it will tell you, investment banking is an industry which employs a lot of Americans. They are ubiquitous, especially in management.

However, a new study from the OECD suggests that Americans are – on average – the very last people banks should be hiring now. Young Americans (aged between 16 and 24) rank last out of all OECD countries for numeracy proficiency. They also rank last among OECD countries for, ‘problem solving in technology rich environments.’

By comparison, the Finnish, the Dutch and the Koreans, all rank highest for numeracy. They also rank highest (along with the Swedish) for problem solving where technology is present.

Now’s clearly the time for investment banks to ditch average Americans and to selectively target northern Europe, Scandinavia and Korea. The only caveat? Banks don’t hire average students, they’re only interested in the elite. And elite Americans are still the best in the world. 

Proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments among young adults (16-24)

Young Americans are poor problem solvers

Source: OECD

Comparison of average numeracy proficiency among young adults (16-24) 

Young Americans have very poor numerical skills

Young Americans have very poor numerical skills

Source: OECD

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