The European Central Bank has to hire a lot of people – and fast. Following the EU’s decision to create a Single Supervisory Mechanism for the 130 largest banks in the Eurozone, the ECB has been tasked with raising its headcount by an additional 1,000 people in just 12 months, all based in Frankfurt. We spoke to Caroline Willeke who is responsible for filling these roles.
We are hiring 770 people in banking supervision and 230 for support services like statistics, legal, IT and HR. All of the jobs will be published on our website – and we will place some ads, too. The application period for the top ten management positions has already expired, and now we’re turning our attention to middle management roles. These positions are particularly important because some of them will be the coordinators of the joint supervisory teams. We really need them to prepare a lot of things. We will start to advertise specialist roles at the beginning of next year. We have already advertised a few supporting roles.
Actually, we are already looking for people and already have quite a few on board. We currently have 80 specialists from other central banks on a temporary basis who are helping prepare the “health checks” which we will conduct in the next 12 months before we take over as supervisor. And we will shortly add 30 auditors because this work can’t be delayed.
They have to apply for the permanent roles, too. All specialists get three-year contracts and managers are offered five-year contracts. After that we will decide whether to move them to permanent contracts.
We intend to have a mixture of backgrounds. We have already conducted road shows at national supervisors to inform their employees about the jobs we are offering. But we are also looking for people who have held risk management roles within a bank, for example, or have experiences with bank balance sheets within the large auditing organisations.
It is very attractive to build up a new banking supervisor – it’s a challenging task. You meet highly skilled professionals from all over Europe. People appreciate that a lot. I also think that the overall compensation packages including the European School or a Kindergarten can compete with the private sector.
In my experience, the response has been good. We receive a lot of applications from the entire European Union. In Frankfurt, it is not a big issue if you do not speak German. I know a lot of colleagues who are not fluent in German and they feel pretty comfortable in Frankfurt. It is a very international and liberal place where many people speak English.
Some people consider Frankfurt rather small compared to Madrid or Rome. But once they arrive, they realise that Frankfurt offers a better cultural program than many bigger cities.
The working language of the ECB is English. We expect people to speak at least another European language. This could only be an issue for native English speakers. The application needs to be in English.
You need a European Union passport.
For specialist roles we generally expect a Masters degree or a Bachelors degree with additional four years’ experience.
Because of the large number of employees we intend to hire I would not entirely exclude people with a relatively little experience. In the early days of the ECB we also tried to hire more experienced staff first, and I’d envisage the same with the initial SSM roles. We already run a graduate scheme at the ECB and in the future this scheme could certainly fill vacancies in the Single Supervisory Mechanism, too.
We will not make any compromises in terms of the candidates’ qualifications just to hire enough people on time. We in the HR team are, however, fully committed to hire enough people within a year and we are very optimistic that this will work. Up to now we are on schedule. And once the first managers arrive they will do everything they can to fill the vacancies in their teams.