Life of a Government Bank Employee vs. Private Bank Employee

Government bank is not 9 to 5 anymore. The line between government & private bank job roles is becoming thin. Government banks are understaffed and hence more work. Staff need to give exams for every promotion. Private banks are better managed and you can grow by performing better than your colleagues.

In general, bank officers command a respectable position in the society irrespective of whether they belong to the private banking sector or a public sector bank.

In this blog, let’s explore the intricacies of the life of a government bank employee vis-à-vis the life of a private bank employee. We have tried to bring you subtle differences that exist which would enable you to make important career decisions. Happy reading !

A good government bank job spells success in life for some. It is the dream of most B.Com students to secure a cushy comfortable bank job in a nationalized bank.

Hours of work-A good salary apart, you get all bank holidays, half-days or weekends are paid holidays, PF, Gratuity, Retirement Pensions and Loans are available to you at lowest possible interest rate.
Working hours are more or less fixed. The work could be completed by the officers who are expected to put in more hours of work in comparison. Both officers and clerical staff have plenty of quality time with their family. All in all, a healthy work-life balance can be expected with fixed working hours.

Bank transfers/relocation– this is a part and parcel of bank employment and bank life. Intermittent and frequent relocations due to transfers are a given. Spread throughout the country. Even remote areas.

Responsibility/Accountability-Apart from a banking professional life being made once they become officer cadre, we need to point out that in a government bank job, personal responsibility and accountability is very high indeed. That is the reason a teller counts and recounts; counts and recounts; counts and recounts the money before giving it to the customer. If an error is made or discrepancy later comes to light, then the teller is responsible for covering the shortage from their pocket. So, also if you are in loan dispensing department or investments or any other banking function, the staff is responsible for any bad debts or any errors.

People’s job-Bank jobs are also a great ‘people management’ role. You get to meet many different types of people on a daily basis, and you could become an expert at handling them whether they are customers or staff or fellow colleagues. You learn management tactics in a real- time basis. It could save you from having to shell out for a big B school. You become a master in the art and craft of body language and accurately interpreting it as day in and day out you are dealing with a variety of human beings.

PSU jobs are very secure jobs after you land a role through a series of nationalized entrance tests, bank exams officers exams etc. Once you gain employment and land a job in a public bank then chances of you being removed from employment are tiny. Unless you commit a malpractice where, at the most you might get suspended for a period of time and reinstated or transferred to a remote corner of India. Retirement brings lucrative pensions and huge gratuity benefits even at lower rungs of the ladder.

Performance appraisals-Speaking of private banking, let’s take a peek into the life of a private bank employee. Private banking professionals enjoy greater privileges in comparison. E.g. accountability is not so high with private bank staff. The organization picks up your slack for you. How absolutely cool is that? In a private bank you are just doing a corporate job although timings are stretchable relatively. You are expected to work overtime.Work-life balance could generally be compromised in a competitive working environment. All the regular holidays such as bank holidays, half days and festival holidays etc. accrue to you. The only dark side could be that you cannot expect an easy relaxed unpressured time. You are given targets and your performance is evaluated through regular appraisals. Jobs, hence are less secure and you do not receive pensions at retirement.Incentives and bonuses can be much higher than PSU banks . Moreover, talking of performance appraisals, it does not take much to replace you with a more superior performing individual if your performance slacks along the way. If you wish for an easy cushy job then you would be better off in a PSU bank. Salary packages are much higher than PSU employees.

Style of functioning– Private banks have a very corporate style of functioning with their own set of standard operating procedures to which strict adherence is required. Any deviations might call for stringent backlash. PSUs have their own set of procedures and regulations which might sometimes be flouted due to unethical malpractices etc. which are coming to light in newspapers more recently. The style of functioning is very loose-knit and casual and even vernacular languages are used amongst colleagues and customers. This is not the case with private banks where the medium of conducting business is English and highly professional with zero or little tolerance for workplace idiosyncrasies. Any malpractice at lower levels can result in at the most your employment.

Recruitment practices-Employees are handpicked from degree colleges, institutes and universities through their own set of internal selection and recruitment processes and later trained for their roles. There are no guarantees that you can retain your job if you do not perform under pressure of targets and goals given to you. Retirement does not bring fat pensions and cushioning like gratuity etc. at lower levels.
Prefer people who are long-stayers in a job rather than mobility of staff. This is due to staff building their own customer bases and rapport.

Functions and departments-In private sector banks, departmentalization is highly complex. Risk analysis, credit rating, research and development of customer bases etc. are varied with many different sections. This gives the staff lots of scope for change and horizontal growth into expanded roles and job enrichment. This is not the case with public sector bank staff.

Private sector bank probability of you living in a city and two tier towns is higher when compared to that of PSUs. In a public sector bank you may be suddenly promoted and sent to a remote village in India upsetting children’s schooling . Private sector banks usually recruit locally plus they do not have a presence in small villages or in remote inaccessible towns of India.

Promotions/Ascensions-In private sector banks, ascension could be highly subjective to high engagement and performance. You can only go so high with your B.Com degree. Unless you can prove your mettle. Senior management make most decisions and these top honchos are really experienced; highly educated with highly professional degrees picked from the best of B- schools in India. In PSUs ascension is examination based. Give the next level set of exams and pass them and you could be promoted with accruing increments in that scale.Salary packages are established with PSUs along with perks. In private banks, you can negotiate your package and there could be disparity between colleagues of the same rank.

Choices open to you-Finally, given all of these differing criteria and parameters , you can choose wisely and decide according to what kind of job suits your personality , style of functioning/working, or temperament. There is great wisdom in taking up employment that suits your personality rather than taking a job and later realizing that you are not cut out for the role and are a misfit. This could bear down heavily on your job-motivation, commitment and engagement and ultimately your job performance.

So, take your pick- a PSU job or a private bank professional? Or find out what alternatives and better options you have at your beck and call.
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