For Recruiters
Why is banking so ageist?

"I'm a 35 year-old software consultant. I want to be a banker"

I'm a 35 year-old software engineer by trade. I started my own software consulting company a few years ago and have since decided that I am better suited to a career in investment banking. However, I seem to be overlooked for every role.

I appreciate that I'm older than the average graduate, but I don't understand why banks won't cut me some slack. I've been very successful in my previous career and now want to pivot to either banking or private equity. In this situation, it's inevitable that I will be older - but I also bring valuable experience and am willing to work my way up.

Age aside, I fit all the requirements for M&A. I've always been an academic high achiever and naturally gravitate towards leadership positions. I'm personable and have a valuable blend of both technical/analytical and soft skills. I've spent both my own time and my own resources educating myself in financial modelling and corporate finance and I believe that I can compete with any college grad applying for an entry-level role.

So why is that banks won't so much as look at me? Feedback would be appreciated in the comment box below. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Muyuan Ma on Unsplash

author-card-avatar
AUTHORTodd Jeffreys Insider Comment
Cancel
  • Ex
    ExPimcoClient
    28 July 2020

    There is a process for getting into a bulge bracket M&A, go to the right school, do the right extra-curricular, get the right grades and get the right internship. You may have all the attributes for being successful in M&A but you are unrealistic to believe that you can redefine the defined process to fit your desires (note there are exceptions, are you well connected, have you sold your business using a target bank as the intermediary etc). That aside I know plenty of folks who didnt make it into M&A and are doing amazing likewise I know plenty of folks who exited M&A and are doing great.
    Bottomline you missed the boat but you can do just fine outside of M&A.

  • Th
    ThreadneedleBanker
    28 July 2020

    No bank on the street wants spend money/time to train up a 35 year old software guy who comes with all his own ego and preconceptions. Your experience in Consulting basically counts for nothing and in most likelihood you won’t be able to stand the heat of the job and will leave after a month if you make it through the first 110-hour work week.... Selling software to CTOs that don’t know any better in an uncompetitive industry is completely different to my job pitching a merger to a fortune500 chairman with multiple banks trying to elbow their way into a senior role whilst an activist tries to unseat half his board. Did you go to Cambridge? Do you wear Grensons? Did you even think of either of those questions? If not you are not geared for this. Worst still, textbooks of Corporate Finance are as worthless as the paper they are printed on.
    Banks want people they can mould into deal machines and rainmakers.

    If I were you, I’d stay in IT with the safe IT jobs surrounded by mediocre IT people. IT consultants still get paid ok (compared with the UK average, whatever that measily number is - LOL!)

  • Br
    Bryant
    28 July 2020

    Hey - I got hired into banking at 37. Had tried to get into the industry for years and finally needed to go to business school to do it. Was recruited by a bulge bracket in the standard MBA recruiting cycle at a top ~15 US program. If you’re trying to lateral in as a VP or Director, you’re going to have a very very hard time. If you’re going the MBA to Associate route, I don’t see any challenges that your peers wouldn’t face. On the job, I haven’t encountered any ageism (that I’m aware of).

  • Jo
    Jol
    28 July 2020

    Ageism is the most widespread form of discrimination in banking yet no one cares. Maybe you should start your own #OldLivesMatter movement.

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
GIC Private Limited
Executive Assistant, CEO's Office
GIC Private Limited
Singapore
Inetum Capital Market
CI/CD Automation - DevOps Engineer
Inetum Capital Market
Singapore
Inetum Capital Market
Kafka Senior Developer
Inetum Capital Market
Singapore
Anson McCade
Quantitative Researcher/Trader
Anson McCade
Singapore
Morgan McKinley
Private Equity Fund Accountant
Morgan McKinley
Singapore