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Banks eager to hire more science students

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri Shimbun A growing number of financial institutions are interested in hiring more new graduates with science and engineering degrees in spring 2019. Advances in information technology mean banks require more personnel with such backgrounds to reform their financial services, an undertaking they have found challenging to achieve with traditional bank employees.

“We want to meet people different from typical Mizuho [employees],” reads the cover of a brochure distributed by Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to job-hunting students. The message targets students in STEM fields — an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM has attracted attention in the United States and other nations, as the development of IT and artificial intelligence has increased the importance of teaching these subjects and developing professionals with such backgrounds.

For spring 2019, Mizuho will hire 300 new graduates for so-called general career tracks, drastically lower than the roughly 800 hired this spring. At the same time, the company will hire 400 new graduates for major career tracks, a 20 percent reduction from the 500 hired this spring. However, the ratio of new recruits with a science or engineering background will increase to 20 percent, a record high and substantially greater than the typical 10 percent.

Mizuho recruitment officials have visited more than 50 university labs for the 2019 recruiting season, three times more than the number they visited the previous year.

“We’re really trying to attract students who aren’t interested in working in the financial sector,” said Shinya Uda, a Mizuho executive officer.

When the financial institution surveyed students to whom it had given effective job offers over the past several years using the results of their screening processes, it found that students majoring in subjects other than science and engineering worked well in teams — a traditionally valued quality — but scored relatively low in creative thinking.

On the other hand, the survey showed that science and engineering majors generally had superior creative thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Amid a protracted period of low interest rates, the financial industry has had greater difficulty generating profits through financing and asset management. The sector must also roll out new fintech-based financial services using rapidly developing IT.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. is moving in a similar direction and has established two new specialized career tracks — a quants track for those who will analyze and manage quantitative data, and a digitization track for those who will work on programming and AI technology.

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. and other companies in the insurance industry have also established digitization career tracks.Speech

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