Considering a career in banking? Find out what opportunities and challenges you can expect from this fast-paced industry.

If you thought banking and finance jobs were for math whizzes only, think again. With new technology and shifting employee expectations, many banks are changing how they operate and the roles they hire for. This means there are plenty of new career opportunities to explore that you might not have considered, plus a few challenges to keep in mind.

opportunities for job seekers in the banking industry

Here’s a rundown of the main opportunities you can tap into:

1. a wide range of career paths and roles

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly a million (980,200) job openings are expected annually in business and financial occupations. There’s also a huge variety of jobs to suit your skills and temperament. Are you a people person? Then look for a customer-facing role in retail banking. More interested in helping institutions navigate regulatory changes? Then a career in risk management and compliance could suit you down to the ground.

2. the chance to develop transferable skills

Thanks to the diversity of roles within financial institutions, you'll have the chance to develop competencies that are highly sought after in other industries. These include IT skills, business knowledge and problem-solving. A background in banking can help you transition into various sectors, from management consulting to engineering or tech.

3. working at the coalface of digital change

The integration of cutting-edge technology into the banking industry has accelerated in recent years. As a result, folks who might not have thought about a career in banking or finance before, feeling they weren't really "numbers people," now have a shot at thriving.

Take the field of data analysis. Once a specialized, math-heavy discipline, banking professionals can now use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to do much of the heavy lifting. That opens up a range of careers to creative problem solvers who can think outside the box and work collaboratively to drive innovation.

4. an excellent work-life balance

It’s now common knowledge among major companies that enabling employees to balance work and personal life is a must. The banking sector is already delivering in this regard — a recent Randstad survey of finance professionals found that nearly two-thirds (64%) were satisfied with their current employer's work-life balance policies. So, if you like to work and play hard, banking might offer your ideal career.

challenges for job seekers in the banking industry

Now for a couple of the main challenges you may face and how to overcome them:

1. entering the banking industry during uncertain times

With several high-profile bank failures this year, you may be wondering if it's a good time to join the industry. Don’t panic. Success stories rarely make good headlines, but the banking sector is mostly in good shape. Take the time to research the companies you're interested in and consider speaking to someone who already works there to better understand the company's stability and long-term prospects.

2. coming up against a slow hiring process

Like many large organizations, banks may have a lengthy and complicated hiring process, which can frustrate job seekers. Patience and persistence are key. Follow up with the employer after an interview, politely request an update, and express your continued interest in the role. Teaming up with a trusted staffing agency like Randstad can also help, giving you access to career advice and the latest job openings.

If you're ready to explore a new and exciting career in the banking and finance industry, don't let the challenges hold you back. Whether you're interested in working with cutting-edge technology or developing transferable skills to help you transition into other industries, there's never been a better time to get started.