Banking jobs: Interview with T.I.M.E. Director Manek N Daruvala
While job opportunities in banking sector is increasing with expansion of public, private and foreign banks in India, the number of aspirants is growing even faster leading to tough competition at different levels of banking jobs exams.
Experts, however, suggest that the banking job exams can be cracked with consistent and dedicated preparation efforts. In this interview with Careers360, Mr. Manek N Daruvala, director at T.I.M.E., talks on the level of competition in banking industry exams and the broad assessment process undertaken by various banks and how different banking exams can be cracked. He also speaks on broadening opportunities in banking industry.
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Careers360: What is the scope of seeking a career in Banking sector in the current job scenario? How is the sector as compared to other sectors in terms of job opportunity?
Mr. Manek Daruvala: Under the prevailing job scenario, the scope of seeking a career in the banking industry is quite extensive. With the government's current movement for financial inclusion, there are ample opportunities in this sector. Banks too have diversified their activities and are getting into new products and services that include opportunities in credit cards, consumer finance, wealth management, life and general insurance, investment banking, mutual funds, pension fund regulation, stock broking services, custodian services and private equity etc. This means that there is urgent requirement for a huge workforce.
Banking jobs are quite sought-after, like all other government jobs. Moreover, since they remain unaffected during recessionary periods, they are also very secure. Both these factors collectively make bank jobs very reputable. In addition to this, since these jobs now require candidates in various capacities, they accommodate graduates from every stream. Bank jobs thus provide candidates tremendous opportunities, both within the country and abroad.
The salary packages across all government bank jobs are quite lucrative, and on par with those of the IT and other private well-paying sectors. The salary of an SBI Probationary Officer in Mumbai is 8 lacs per annum.
“Bank exams are tough, and this aspect must always be kept in mind while preparing. Though the task of qualifying is difficult, it is definitely not unachievable. Candidates must evaluate their abilities in each of the test areas and work towards developing skills.”
Careers360: How should candidates evaluate their suitability for a job in the Banking Sector?
Mr. Manek Daruvala: Most bank exams, including the CWEs conducted by the IBPS, have test areas like Quantitative Ability Reasoning, English Language, Computers and General Awareness. State Bank of India (SBI) PO exams include an additional test area – Marketing. A banking job aspirant must understand his capability in these areas, and proceed accordingly.
The candidate must also bear in mind that there are sectional cut-offs, as well as an overall cut-off. Strength and command in any single test area will not ensure overall success in the exam. He/she must also perform equally well in each test area in order to qualify.
A strong practice which includes about 3 to 4 hours per day of dedicated study/preparation can surely equip one with the aptitude necessary to make success possible.
Careers360: What is the level of competition in the sector for different levels of available job opportunities?
Mr. Manek Daruvala: The entry-level written exams for banks are conducted for the posts of Clerks / POs (General) and POs (Specialist Officers).
The number of aspirants appearing for these exams is much higher than the number of vacancies announced. For example, an overwhelming 14 lakh appeared for 1500 SBI PO posts in 2013; this gives approximately a 1:1000 vacancy-aspirant ratio, i.e. one candidate recruited among a thousand candidates!
For Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) PO 2013, approximately 10 lakh applications were received for 22000 vacancies. There is similar competitionfor clerical jobs too.
Careers360: How should a candidate mentally prepare himself/herself for a career in the banking sector?
Mr. Manek Daruvala: Bank exams are tough, and this aspect must always be kept in mind while preparing. Though the task of qualifying is difficult, it is definitely not unachievable. In order to hit the bull's eye, candidates must evaluate their abilities in each of the test areas mentioned above, and work towards developing skills in that area(s). Intensive 10-12 hours of preparation time per day is essential for success in cracking the exam.
In addition to this, the candidate should also accept the fact, it is not possible for every candidate to clear the exam in one go; a number of attempts may be required before a candidate can achieve success in his/her endeavour.
Careers360: What are the challenges that a student might face while entering this competitive space of Banking job seekers?
Mr. Manek Daruvala: As jobs in the banking sector are very coveted, there are more aspirants than vacancies for every exam – SBI or IBPS CWEs. Therefore, there is stiff competition among candidates. Lesser posts than the number of job seekers puts intense pressure on candidates to outperform others in the fray.
Careers360: What is your suggestions and advice to those candidates who are looking to prepare for banking jobs and wish to build a career in the banking sector?
Mr. Manek Daruvala: A proper assessment of one's strengths and weaknesses in the test areas will help an aspirant channelize his/her efforts in the required direction. Thus, proper application of the results of this self-analysis will ensure success across a number of bank exams. In addition to this, thorough preparation will go a long way in yielding the desired fruit.
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