CBA tops most attractive employer list but challenges emerging

The Commonwealth Bank has been rated the most attractive employer in the banking and financial services sector but two new companies have scored well ahead of the other banking majors, according to the 2018 Randstad Employer Brand Research study.

While CBA, ANZ and Westpac were ranked as the top three most attractive companies in financial services, Randstad surveyed a number of additional banking and financial services companies that were not eligible to compete due to their employee number size.

But these companies scored remarkably well in both awareness and attractiveness including ING Australia, QSuper and Rabobank.

ING Australia and QSuper (who both achieved 41 per cent in relative attractiveness) ranked ahead of ANZ and Westpac – both on a score of 39 per cent.

National Australia Bank came in fourth with a score of 37 per cent.

The employer brand study recognises the top employers and industries in Australia, as well as employee sentiment about attractive qualities in a job, according to a survey of more than 9,555 Australians.

Compared with other sectors, the banking sector only ranked 19th in terms of attractiveness – falling slightly from 18th place in 2017. However, in 2016, the sector was in ninth place.

Apple was named as the nation’s top employer with technology outranking the aviation sector for the first time in four years. Virgin Australia and Qantas were ranked second and third in the study.

Work/life balance, salary, job security, a pleasant work environment and good training were the primary reasons why people chose those companies as attractive employers.  A good reputation and financial health and latest technology were other attributes that were desired by employees.  

Opportunity to rebrand

Randstad national director in HR consulting Malcolm Peak said that while the banking sector only fell slightly from the previous year’s result, “a small percentage fall can be significant given that other sectors such as early learning and life sciences storming up in the rankings”.

In fact, early learning was ranked as number two in the most attractive industry to work in – up 10 per cent.

“Employees are looking to work in companies that treat their customers and employees the same way. In banking and financial services, you have not always seen that play out,” Peak said.

He added that today’s companies now need to understand how socioeconomic trends will impact their business.

“They need to think about employer branding more broadly.”

The study was conducted in Australia in November last year well before the hearings from the Royal Commission.

According to Peak, the public inquiry will have obvious implications for the sector in terms of employee branding but it could also create an opportunity to re-brand.

“On face value, if we did the survey today we may expect a lessening in employees attracted to the sector. However, after speaking to key people in the sector, banks have not experienced a big fall in job applications.

“The sector should see this as an opportunity. The challenge is to be seen as transformational. Financial institutions impacted by the royal commission need to reinvent and reconnect with their employees and customers,” Peak said.

“They need to share their transformational journey with their employees because many of these employees will be up to the challenge. The issue will be in the authenticity of how they do it.”

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