Magazine article American Banker

Job Growth in Banking Will Not Be Stunted despite Revolutionary Changes in Industry

Magazine article American Banker

Job Growth in Banking Will Not Be Stunted despite Revolutionary Changes in Industry

Article excerpt

What's a banker? A businessman or businesswoman in a pin-striped suit?

If you answered yes, you are wrong.

The typical person working in banking is a typist, secretary, office clerk, or teller.

That's what the New York Stock Exchange found when it looked at the current job profile of the average bank industry employee. And chances are that little will change by 1955.

Based on the recent NYSE study, "U.S. International Competitiveness: Perception and Reality," clerical jobs account for only 19% of all jobs for the economy as a whole.

Further research, however, indicates clerical workers in banking account for more than 71% of all bank industry employees.

But in terms of jobs, that's where the differences between the banking industry and the total economy basically end.

By 1995:

* Job growth in banking (+26%) is expected to parallel overall job growth (+28%);

* In both banking and the overall economy, job growth will be balanced over the occupational spectrum;

* The proportion of people working in each occupational group will remain virtually unchanged in both banking and the economy.

These are some of the results of projections made by the Bureau of Labor STatistics and the University of Maryland. If they are near the mark, the results dispel the notion that automation in banking will bring job growth to a halt.

For example, many people believe automated teller machines (ATMs) will displate tellers over the long term. But according to Bureau of Labor Statistics experts, that might not be the case.

First, there is little hard evidence in the available data that ATMs are, in fact, displacing tellers. The rash of bank mergers may temporarily be holding down the need for tellers. People may be mistaking this temporary phenomenon for the permanent displacement of workers by the ATMs.

Second, people tend to use ATMs like corner grocery stores: Instead of "shopping" once a week or once every two weeks in bulk, people tend to "pop in for a few things" -- they get $20 or $50 today and return two or three days later rather than withdrawing one or two week's cash from a less convenient, less frequently available human teller.

This increases the use of the ATMs and, in turn, the demand for bank tellers who have to maintain the ATMs in terms of cash insertions, tape preparation, tape tallying, and the like.

Many -- though certainly not all -- bank analysts believe, overall, that ATMs haven't been a major depressant on the growth of jobs in banking despite their widespread use. More importantly, the belief is that ATMs may have already saturated the market, leaving little room for future growth. Thus, their depressing effect on future job growth in banking may have peaked. …

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