I’ve been in banking a long time and the longer I spend in this industry, the worse it gets.
For people looking in from the outside, banking might seem like a meritocracy. That’s how the industry likes to position itself. But when you’ve been in the industry a while you know that it’s not. The further you get from the front office, the worse the management tends to be. I work in internal audit and the managers are especially poor. The senior staff have been around for years and in my experience the levels of incompetence are staggering.
Who’s behind this lack of accountability? The HR departments. The senior HR-types have usually sold out years ago and they affect who gets hired and who gets fired. They’re supposed to be there to screen out incompetence but really they’re there to screen anyone who doesn’t fit the ‘culture’, as defined by the layer at the top.
I used to work for a German bank (no, it wasn’t DB) where HR insisted everything was fine, but where when we got an outside firm to benchmark our senior managers it turned out that 60% of them were subpar and unable to make informed decisions. At another firm I worked for, the senior bosses came up with the great idea of opening a new and cheaper office outside of NYC, coincidentally close to where they lived and paying people (ie. themselves) more to relocate there. HR didn’t bat an eyelid. The bosses got more pay and a shorter commute, but 30% of everyone else left of their own accords.
HR are the hatchet people of the industry. Don’t trust their claims to be the agents of meritocracy. Most of the senior people I know in banks got their jobs through friends. HR are the enablers of this behavior and are part of the problem, despite pretending to be the solution. You’ll regret trusting them. I do.
Don Bryant is the pseudonym of a disgruntled former banker.
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