As the first generation of graduates post the collapse of Lehman take their first steps into the working world, the latest survey of over 600 students in three European countries by eFinancialCareers.com, the leading global careers site for financial professionals, highlights the sobering impact that the events of the last ten months has had on their career path and aspirations.
Based on the findings of the survey, graduate job opportunities on the continent appear to be in short supply for those wanting to enter the financial services sector. In Italy and France relatively few students graduating this summer who want to enter the finance sector have so far been able to secure a place (11% in Italy and almost 16% in France).
In comparison, UK graduates have been moderately more successful - one in five having already landed their first job. In the main, though, rejection letters have been the order of the day.
Despite the knock-backs, the eFinancialCareers.com survey highlights that the overwhelming majority of undergraduates surveyed still want to work in financial services – almost 74% of British students saying they will continue looking for a job in the sector should they fail to have found a position by graduation.
In France and Italy, commitment levels were even higher: 76% of Italian students questioned and 80% of French said they would continue looking for financial services jobs post graduation.
Interestingly, few of the continental students seemed concerned by the tarnished reputation of the banking industry; only 4% of Italian students and 9% of French students said they felt awkward telling friends they wanted to work in investment banking.
By contrast, over a third of UK students said they felt embarrassed mentioning their choice of career to friends. And in a separate poll of 277 UK students by eFinancialCareers, 26% admitted their parents had expressed a negative opinion about their desire to go into the City.
London nevertheless remains the financial centre of choice in which to work for both French and UK students wanting to enter the financial services sector. For Italian students, Milan is the preferred centre, narrowly beating London into second place.
However, many admitted that the City of London has lost some of its appeal. This trend was most notable amongst the UK students surveyed. When they started college, 8