BANKING JOBS: What it takes to succeed in the new world of Swiss banking

  JULY 14, 2017  
Zurich Paradeplatz by night with lit buildings and trams in a busy street

The threat of cyber attacks like WannaCry and Petya are creating lucrative opportunities for specialists looking to work in the financial sector.

Top candidates for a job as a cyber security expert can “easily” command salaries of CHF1 million ($1 million). That’s according to Robert Walters, founder and chief executive of the eponymous white collar recruitment agency. “Protection and security of data is vitally important and we find that cyber security experts are earning a fortune,” he said.

Jobs in risk management, legal and compliance are also much in demand as Swiss banks tackle a growing array of regulatory demands – from reducing risky activities to implementing anti-money laundering rules. The tighter reins placed on banks are due in part to the financial crisis and tax evasion scandals. The new requirements eat up staff time and threaten margins.

“The Swiss financial regulator wants Switzerland to be seen as an ethical, safe and secure place to have banks,” said Nick Dunnett, head of Robert Waters Germany and Switzerland. “These types of jobs will continue to grow over the next five years.” This is also true in the growing wave of fintech start-ups.

And the digitization of financial services is changing the way banks interact with customers and do business.

However, apart from cyber security, job seekers with legal and compliance skills are no longer able to name their salaries. “Two years ago you would see a real salary premium for these roles, but there is now a better talent pool for these skills in Switzerland,” said Dunnett. “Salaries have levelled out as banks have become more cost-conscious.”

In fact, a majority of Swiss bank employees need to get used to a diet of lower pay and longer commutes, the head of the Swiss Bank Employers Association told a recent summit. Last year banks shed 1,606 full time posts in Switzerland and a further 1,387 abroad.

Increasingly, employees and people interested in working in the sector must show flexibility, switching from one project to another and, above all, staying ahead of the new technological skill requirements, according to Robert Walters.


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