As graduate hiring season comes into full swing, some applicants for UK banking jobs will have one less thing to worry about: paying for their accommodation. Barclays is offering grads the chance to apply for up to two nights’ free accommodation in city centre apartments when attending interviews in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
And here’s the thing: you don’t need to be going for a job at Barclays, reports the Financial Times. Applications are open to all grads, meaning that Goldman Sachs could potentially hire someone whose interview accommodation was funded by Barclays.
Some financial services firms in the UK – including M&G, Standard Life Aberdeen, EY, Deloitte, KPMG, Bain Capital, Barclays and Kames Capital – already fund travel and accommodation costs for candidates. But the practice is far from universal.
A Barclays poll found that 2,000 British students spend an average of £507 ($665) on average getting their first job after university. The figures include expenses such as travel, hotels and clothes, but are not specific to financial services.
Still, even without Barclays’ largess, students who end up landing investment banking jobs in the City will end up recouping these costs less than a week into the job. At analyst 1 level, you will earn about £60k a year, roughly £820 a week after tax. This isn’t necessarily enough to furnish a lavish lifestyle, however, as young bankers’ salaries in London are still failing to keep pace with rent rises in the UK capital.
Separately, but staying with Barclays, here’s another sign that the firm’s investment banking arm is getting primed to take more risks after about five years of cutbacks: Bloomberg has reported the bank is “considering a push into riskier debt trading and a return to dealing in complex credit products in the U.S.”.
This could lead to more hiring in distressed debt trading and in U.S. structured credit (CDOs would be a particular focus), because Barclays execs expect a deteriorating credit cycle, according to a Barclays source quoted by the news agency.
The report follows comments last month from Tim Throsby, head of investment banking at Barclays, that he wanted to inject “commercial zeal” into Barclays’ investment bank and end a risk-averse culture that has seen it perform poorly against U.S. competitors.
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