6 myths about working in financial services

April 6, 2022
Ilse Roosens
Practice Lead - Young Talent

Cover image: HBO

What is a job in finance really like? Can you really have a positive impact on society or are you just a small step away from becoming the next Wolf of Wallstreet? In this blogpost, we have a short look at 6 statements about working in banking and/or insurance and why they should(n’t) impact your career choices.

The financial services industry is boring: FALSE

Banks and insurers change with a changing world. That’s why KBC and Baloise both offer cyber insurance policies, which protect you against phishing, malware, hacking and even offer psychological support in case of cyber bullying. An innovative service that only exists because of constant modernisation and an influx of fresh ideas.

And did you know that the KBC banking app was named the best banking app in the world by the international research agency Sia Partners? They examined 135 banking apps from 17 countries. And not only did KBC finish first, the Belfius app won second place! We can be rightly proud of these Belgian banks, and the internal IT employees who developed these award-winning apps!

If you’re into app or software development, think of the impact you could have on the future of banking – and everyday life – with a job like this.

Banks don’t serve a purpose other than making rich people richer: FALSE

Whoever holds the money, holds the power. And sure, you might think that financial institutions only use their powers for evil, but that is about as inaccurate as most of Donald Trump’s statements. Talk about impact and purpose – what do you think about those badasses at SWIFT completely shutting Russia off from the world economy?

Swift basically controls international transfers between banks. By cutting major Russian banks off from their network, they are making it pretty much impossible for Russia to do business with other countries, buy stock, or operate on a global level.

Banks and insurers are a bunch of old guys in suits: TRUE-ISH

Although we actively work on fostering a culture of inclusion and equality within ProjectiveGroup, financial services in general is still a quite male dominated industry. But even old guys tend to retire at some point, and that’s what’s happening right now. More and more banks are actively working on hiring younger employees and getting more women in management. And those suits? No longer required. After all, if Belgian politicians can meet their king wearing sneakers, why should you have to wear a buttoned shirt to work?

By the way – did you know that big players like Belfius rely on ProjectiveGroup for the rejuvenation of their staff? Young talent not only infuses the teams with enthusiasm, passion and innovative ideas – they also get a lot of opportunities for career development. “Thanks to the young talents brought to us by Exellys (a ProjectiveGroup company), we now have a healthy age pyramid within the organisation. This also means better prospects for our succession management, because these young people have lots of opportunities to grow into our leaders of the future. In fact, some former Exellysts are making their way up the ladder within Belfius Insurance,” says Gert Vanhaecht, CIO at Belfius Insurance.

Working in finance is always from 9 to 5 in Brussels, London or Amsterdam: FALSE

While we’re at it, we’d like to point out that banks and insurers are pretty good when it comes to work-life balance. They have active policies allowing you to work from home or from satellite offices close to your home. They offer flexible hours so you can plan your work around your life and not the other way around. Employees’ performance is rated based more and more on results, not the amount of hours put in. So if you’re worried about being stuck, or if the commute scares you – it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. Employee happiness as very high on the list of priorities in the financial services industry, that’s why people working there say they feel a lot of freedom and autonomy in their jobs.

"On paper, there are layers in the organisation – there are managers, project leaders, team leaders, etc. But in reality, the line between managers and the rest of the team is very narrow." - Charles, Business & Functional Analyst

“What I like about working at NN, is that the company structure is so flat. On paper, there are layers in the organisation – there are managers, project leaders, team leaders,… But in reality, the line between managers and the rest of the team is very narrow, as you’d undoubtedly soon figure out during an afterwork event. NN gets a 10 out of 10 when it comes to atmosphere and fun,” says Charles Vanhaesebroucke, a young talent currently making it at the Dutch insurance company Nationale Nederlanden.

Banks don’t care about the environment or societal issues: FALSE

More and more banks are committing to a carbon neutral future. Take BNP Paribas Fortis for example. They’ve been carbon neutral since 2017, and recently opened their new sustainable headquarters which is a passive building. They’ve actually recycled 98% of the materials of the old office, furniture included, in the new one!

And did you know Belfius joined the Science Based Targets Initiative in January of this year? They’re committing themselves to setting emission reduction targets in line with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Belfius also actively promotes gender equality by guaranteeing equal pay for men and women. One third of management is currently female at Belfius! As a young woman today, imagine where you could go at a place that fosters talent like this?

You need a fancy degree in Economics to work in the financial sector: FALSE

The financial services industry is one of the largest employers in IT. At a big bank, there are easily 1,000 people in the IT department, working in various domains. So they actually need a lot of people with a technical degree.

But even if you don’t have lots of technical skills, you can still be a perfect match for a bank or insurer. ‘Hire for atittude, train for skill’ – that’s the motto that’s becoming increasingly popular among recruiters. The war for talent has become a war for people – companies are looking for people with the right attitude, the right mindset, people who match with the company culture. Skills are secondary: they can be taught on the job.

“Exellys & ProjectiveGroup introduce you to the real company. You find out important things about the company and the culture that you don’t really ask about in a regular interview." - Ine, Data Engineer

Finding a company whose culture fits with your personality, isn’t always easy. “Most companies publish lists of technical skills, but those don’t really say much. Is this company right for me? Are they looking for someone like me? How do they see my future within the company? That’s where ProjectiveGroup comes in,” says Ine, a Data Engineer who’s working for NN just like Charles. “Exellys & ProjectiveGroup introduce you to the real company. You find out important things about the company and the culture that you don’t really ask about in a regular interview. Things like what the company is really looking for and how you’d fit in.”

Curious to know how we can help you find your perfect match? Whether or not you want to work in finance, get in touch with us, we would love to meet you!

About ProjectiveGroup

Change is more than an option; it has become a necessity. The key to a successful digital transformation is the ability to translate technology to the human measure & connection.

ProjectiveGroup covers all aspects of transformation in the financial services sector.  By combining the capabilities of expert companies, we have become an international end-to-end partner for those who want to excel in an ever-changing environment.

We shape businesses today to meet and exceed the challenges of tomorrow.


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