Over the last few years, investment banks have made concerted efforts to recruit a more diverse pool of candidates. While most still covet target schools, almost every investment bank has said publicly that they’re interested in candidates that didn’t necessary major in finance or other traditional disciplines like economics, accounting and business administration. Roughly five years into the public push, it appears the talk is mostly just that – talk. The vast majority of new entrants into front office investment banking roles still have backgrounds in finance or inter-related fields, though some regions are hiring more diverse junior bankers than others.
We combed through our CV database containing nearly 1 million resumes and looked at candidates with 1-3 years of experience who currently work in front-office investment banking roles (not just at investment banks). We narrowed in on people who have their bachelor’s degree only and who uploaded their resume within the last year. Candidates with post-graduate degrees were excluded. As you can see below, roughly two-thirds (67%) of new undergraduate hires majored in finance, economics, accounting, or business administration and management.
However, firms in Europe and Asia have a more diverse pool of junior investment bankers compared to their U.S. counterparts. Roughly 75% of U.S. investment bankers with 1-3 years of experience majored in the four aforementioned disciplines. That number drops to 67% in Europe and 58% in Asia, where banks did a better job of attracting mathematics majors in particular. Investment banks in EMEA also hired a disproportionately large number of history and literature majors compared to the other two regions. Meanwhile, banks in Asia appear more willing to target candidates with esoteric degrees outside of the top 10 that didn’t make up a statistically significant percentage.
Computer science and engineering – two majors in addition to mathematics that banks are said to be targeting – only combined to represent 4% of the global population of young investment bankers. Firms are likely having more success recruiting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors in areas like sales and trading, but when it comes to investment banking, they’re still mostly hiring from the same pool of candidates.
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