The banking and financial industry plays an indispensable role in our lives and in keeping the global economy moving. Whether you’re buying something with a credit card, following a hot stock tip or running a business, the banking industry is working for you—and that’s just scratching the surface.
With an industry this vital to our economic well-being, it’s no wonder they employ so many people: with almost 8.3 million people, it ranks sixth in sheer numbers in the services sector, while finance and insurance accounted for a whopping 7.3% (or $1.4 trillion) of GDP in the US in 2016. The fortunes of the financial industry are inextricably tied to the performance of the US economy as a whole, and employment in the sector is expected to enjoy solid growth in the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And of course, the sector is continually exploring ways to attract and retain top talent to remain competitive. So which firms are doing the best job of keeping employees satisfied, and what is it that makes people so keen on working for them? Our data science team analyzed Indeed’s 72 million ratings and reviews to find out the answers.
Multinational banking giant HSBC leads the rankings
At the top of the rankings is the banking and financial services holding giant HSBC. Founded in 1865 in Hong Kong, HSBC’s move into the US began in earnest in the 1980s with the acquisition of US-based Marine Midland Bank.
American banking is well represented in the top 15. Only four of the top 15—HSBC (#1), TD Bank (#2), EY (#6) and PwC (#9)—have their global headquarters outside of the US. Capital One (#3) is the highest-ranking US-based company on the list.
In stark contrast to the much talked about tech sector, banking is a long-established industry with origins dating back thousands of years. None of the firms on our list are quite that old, but they have been around a long time, especially by American standards.
Seven of the 15 have origins that predate the Civil War. Nine were founded in the burgeoning boom and bust years of the 19th century, with the oldest—Citi (#8)—founded just two days before the outbreak of the War of 1812. Today, it is one of the Big 4 American banks.
But age doesn’t mean that these firms aren’t keeping current. Early adoption of new technology has been a strategy for success for many of them. As early as 1977, all of Citi’s New York branches had at least two ATMs operating 24 hours a day, making life easier for customers and employees alike.
In 1999 Fidelity Investments (#5)—in a move that’s decidedly more Silicon Valley than 5th Avenue—opened Fidelity Labs to “research the future” and “track and share innovation.” In 2015, Northwestern Mutual (#4) launched their innovative Tiger Teams program, in which application development teams are paired with regional offices to identify where digital solutions can add value and then quickly implement them.
The latest technology making waves through the industry is Blockchain, a decentralized system of linked and cryptography-secured records that has potential applications related to payment systems, identity verification and clearing and settlement (among other things). All the players in the rankings are working to integrate it into their business; for instance, EY recently announced the pilot of EY Blockchain Analyzer, a suite of technologies designed to improve the auditing process for firms performing cryptocurrency transactions.
Another theme running through the firms on our rankings is a commitment to inclusion and diversity. For instance, by offering 16 paid weeks off for new and adoptive mothers, parenting workshops and on-site health-care services, Morgan Stanley (#11) has made great efforts to retain and attract working mothers. EY (#6) has consistently been awarded for their commitment to diversity through a Roadmap program that fosters an inclusive environment, group discussions about race relations and sponsorship of LGBT+ programs and gender equality studies.
The best of the best: What makes the top five companies stand out
So what are the best finance and banking companies doing right? Here’s what their employees have to say.
HQ: London, UK (global); New York, New York (US)
HSBC has had over 150 years to figure out what potential employees are looking for, and in that time they have developed a culture that centers on transparency, collaboration and corporate responsibility.
This means taking actions like providing work-life balance and opportunities for professional growth and feedback.
Enthusiasm from their employees shines through in their reviews. “It is an environment where you can achieve great success through cross-training and self-development,” said one, adding, “Management provides opportunities for growth and movement throughout the organization.”
2. TD Bank
HQ: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
A subsidiary of the Toronto-based multinational bank, TD Bank primarily operates across the East Coast in 16 states and Washington, DC. They are one of the 10 largest banks in the US, with 1,315 branches stretching from Maine to Florida.
The bank is well known for fostering a culture that encourages flexible work, opportunities for advancement, competitive salaries, incentive programs, diversity and inclusion, and—of course—excellent benefits packages.
“I have been supported in my personal development and career growth,” said one employee.
Echoing that thought, another TD Bank employee added, “They are one of the few companies that takes time to put analysts through a credit training program, and I honestly believe they want their people to succeed.”
HQ: McLean, Virginia
This bank holding company known for ads with vikings and Samuel Jackson prides itself on high digital fluency and operating like a tech company, and it offers a variety of credit cards, auto loans and banking and savings products.
The company has a well-earned reputation for trying new things that make banking easy and fun for customers and their workforce. Most recently, this has taken the form of cafe-style locations where customers can enjoy a latte and relax while they’ve got their minds on their money and their money on their minds.
Of course, this relaxed attitude is reflected in their culture.
Growth opportunities and career development opportunities factor in their employees’ reviews. One employee said, “I’ve found that management with the company are always willing to help. They are willing to help you grow in your career and will lead you in the right direction if what you want to do isn’t what you’re currently doing.”
HQ: Milwaukee, WI
Founded in the middle of the 19th century in the quiet town of Janesville, Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual earned an early reputation for accountability and transparency by allowing a committee of policy owners who weren’t trustees to have unrestricted access to the company’s operations, management, and strategic plans for review, a unique practice continues to this day.
That same culture of openness and inclusion carries into the company’s hiring practices. For four years straight, the company has received a perfect score of 100 for “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality” by Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index Survey, and in 2016, they were named One of 50 Best Companies for Diversity by Black Enterprise Magazine.
Employee reviews tell a story of a friendly and challenging work environment where opportunities for job advancement were plentiful.
“They allowed me to go out of my boundaries and make my own calls to grow my own business.” says one representative review. “It was certainly a great work environment and a great place to grow in your career.”
“Absolute excellent place to establish proper work ethics.” says another. “The mentor program is one that rivals many and has still made an impact to this day.”
HQ: Boston, MA
Fostering a culture of diversity and social responsibility is a theme for most of the companies that made this list, and Fidelity, the 4th largest asset manager with $2 trillion in assets under management, is no exception.
They also keep their employees happy by offering perks aplenty, including generous maternity and paternity leave for new parents, a program to help new graduates pay off their student loans, and lots of training & development opportunities, to just name a few.
Reviews are a great way to get a picture of what it’s like to work there, and Fidelity’s tell of a supportive and stimulating environment that values advancement.
“They are always willing to teach you something new and get you moving up the ladder,” wrote one employee.
Commenting on Fidelity’s commitment to diversity, another employee says, “You can certainly find folks from all different backgrounds and experiences that are driven and hardworking.”
Tying it all together, an Investment Solutions Representative from a Colorado branch wrote, “For anyone just getting started in the financial or investment industry, Fidelity is THE best place to start. The amount of training, support, and guidance you receive from the time you are hired to the time you are a licensed representative is second to none.”
Indeed has over 72 million company ratings and reviews. The banking and finance companies on this list are most highly rated on overall employee experience with at least 25 reviews over the last two years.