It takes more than tough examiners and truckloads of government regulations to force an unemployed banker to find a new line of work.

A study of 1,162 unemployed bankers who received outplacement services from Philadelphia-based Right Associates, shows that less than 10% opted for jobs outside of banking.

Of the 110 bankers who did so, 21% remained in a field related to banking, meaning they either took jobs at smaller banks or regulatory agencies, or became consultants to banks. Others became consultants (22%), entered the sales field (22%), joined nonprofit firms (13%), and entered the insurance industry (5%).

Making the Most of Skills

"Most of the people say they are going to capitalize on their existing skills," said Joseph T. Smith, chief operating officer with Right, who noted that he was not surprised by the number. "There is instability in every industry. The individuals whom we work with .. don't want to leave the industry where all of their skill sets are."

The study by Right, "Career Transitions in the Banking Industry 1990-1992," examined the careers of bankers who received outplacement services from the firm.

Jobs Take Longer to Find

Unemployed bankers who were under 40 years old were most likely to find jobs more quickly than bankers over 40, according to the study. In 1992, it took a banker under 40 years old 27 weeks to find a new job, compared with 29 weeks for bankers between 40 and 49, and 35 weeks for bankers between 50 and 59.

The time required to find a new job increased from 1990 to 1992. The average increase was 5.6 weeks for bankers under 40, 3.4 weeks for bankers between 40 and 49, and 4.9 weeks for those aged 50 to 59.

Of the group of 1,162 bankers, 19% increased their income, 35% maintained income, and 46% saw their income decreased. Bankers under 40 were slightly more successful in getting raises than their older colleagues, the study said. Older bankers generally are paid higher salaries because they have more work experience.

Though the industry is contracting, Mr. Smith said banks are looking for people skilled in marketing and sales, in technology, and in launching new products.

He also said bankers who were once with larger institutions are finding homes with community banks.

"There is a great deal of appeal for the smaller, boutique banks that offer a great deal of personal attention," he said.

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