Pre-financial crisis, working for a central bank or financial regulator may have had a certain kudos but it wouldn’t necessarily have been considered a go-to career destination for the ambitious or upwardly mobile.
Nowadays, of course, with such institutions very much at the eye of Europe’s financial storm, and in a climate where many bankers are fearfully watching their backs, a stint with a central bank is both something of a safe haven and potentially a very big plus on your CV.
Sweden’s Riksbank, for example, stresses it is always on the lookout for economists and analysts – and is currently looking for three senior and junior research economists.
Candidates normally need to have a background in monetary policy and financial stability and at least two years’ relevant experience under their belts.
The bank also regularly takes on system scientists, lawyers, public relations officers and administrators.
At Norway’s Norges Bank, while it’s currently fully staffed, its Norges Bank Investment Management arm is looking to fill roles, including a senior analyst within risk management reporting and financial economics researchers and analysts.
At Bank of Finland, meanwhile, there has been a drive to bring in more high-level academic expertise as well as people with an economics and central banking background, explains HR specialist at the bank Eija Lepola.
“The emphasis is on research, strong analysis, high-quality statistics, effective international relations and consistent development of personal skills,” she says. “Required experience from research institutions, banking sector, ministries, universities and international organizations and other rather strict qualifications, often set the level of seniority to quite high.”
In 2008 the bank introduced a fixed term for upper positions, resulting in more job rotation, and there has also been an emphasis on more cross-departmental working and co-operation.
“The financial crisis has had a major effect on the tasks of the departments, increasing the cooperation and information change between all departments, different interest groups, and especially with the [Financial Supervisory Authority] FIN-FSA has become more crucial,” Lepola says.
While predominantly employing Finns, the bank has also in the past year looked to bring in overseas research expertise through the American Economist Association.
“Working for a central bank or financial regulator has always been attractive – being able to show you have that inside knowledge or experience which you can then apply somewhere else can make you a strong candidate,” says Nina Linander, partner at the Stockholm office of Stanton Chase International.
“Even before the financial crisis, organisations such as Finansinspektionen or Riksbanken had a good reputation as a place where you gain good exposure and experience and, in the past five years, this has, if anything, become even more the case.
“When it comes to money, the central bank or the financial regulators do not pay very well, at least compared to the banks; you don’t join them because you expect to be really well paid – people come to them because of what they know they will learn and the experience they will gain,” she adds.