What it does: Banking
Staff stats: Over 1000
The good bits: Positive workplace culture
The not so good bits: The process of getting approval to do things
The Bankwest Story
In 1895, the Western Australian Government established the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia to provide capital to farmers. At this point, it wasn’t really a bank in that it didn’t take deposits. The government (through issuing bonds) provided the money that was lent out.
In 1945, it became a deposit-accepting, conventional trading bank and rebranded to become the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia. Over the next four decades or so it expanded its retail and commercial banking services, first throughout the state, then throughout the country.
The bank was incorporated in 1990 and underwent another rebrand four years later. It became the Bank of Western Australia Ltd though, with privatisation looming, it traded under the name Bankwest. In 1995, the Bank of Scotland acquired Bankwest from the state government and in 1996 it was listed on the Australian stock exchange. The Bank of Scotland subsequently became part of the banking and insurance company HBOS plc. In 2008, HBOS plc sold Bankwest, along with the insurance company St Andrews Insurances, to the Commonwealth Bank for $2.1 billion. In 2016, Bankwest generated a cash net profit after tax of $763 million for the Commonwealth Bank.
Bankwest aims to create an “inclusive workplace that is free from bullying, harassment and discrimination”. A workplace where colleagues “feel safe and comfortable to be themselves at work”.
In 2015, an LGBTI and allies’ employee network was formed to further the cause of inclusivity. In 2016, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency named Bankwest Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the third year running. In 2017, Bankwest were recognised at the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Awards as one of the top employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) employees, earning the prestigious Gold accreditation. Women make up around 60 per cent of Bankwest’s total workforce and more than 35 per cent of its leadership ranks. Bankwest’s senior executives are “champions of diversity”. They are tasked with representing their division on the bank’s Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Bankwest funds community groups, schools, sporting clubs and emergency service organisations through its ‘Easy Grants’ program. It also funds the Bankwest Foundation. This supports the implementation of “significant and meaningful community initiatives” in Western Australia and across the country. Since 2012, the bank has also funded the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. This is an independent research organisation dedicated to investigating the economic and social issues impacting West Australians. Bankwest colleagues get at least two paid volunteer days per year. They are encouraged to donate both their money and time to organisations such as Volunteering WA, United Way, Foodbank and Ronald McDonald House.
The recruitment process
You’ll need to live in Perth or be prepared to move there to take part in Bankwest’s grad program. You’ll also need to be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. The bank accepts candidates from a variety of degree disciplines but requires a minimum GPA average of 65 per cent. You’ll also need to subscribe to Bankwest’s core values of putting customers first; working collaboratively and respectfully with others; acting with integrity; taking ownership of decisions and their impacts and being passionate about making a difference.
All graduates start in February but the length of your program will range from one to two years depending on what business area you opt to work in. There is a generalist ‘Aspiring Leaders’ program as well as three others for Business Banking, Risk Management and Enterprise Services.
During your first 12 months on the job, you’ll go through a thorough orientation, receive market-leading training, get advice from senior leaders, attend conferences and master classes and rotate through different departments. From day one you’ll be doing real work that impacts the business and be receiving both technical and soft-skills training. You’ll have the support of a buddy and be able to make a social contribution by participating in volunteering initiatives.
The standard Bankwest recruitment process involves the following stages:
Step 1: Submit your application online
Make sure you find out more about their business areas before you fill in your application form, as you need to select which business area matches your skills and interests. They'll read your application and if they think you’re a perfect fit for another area, they'll give you a call to discuss.
Step 2: Complete online assessments
If you’re successful during their screening process, they'll ask you to complete a set of online assessments. An email will be sent detailing what you need to do to complete the online assessments with specific deadlines to complete the assessments (in some cases this may only be 24 hours). The earlier you submit your application, the longer you will have to complete your assessments. If you don’t complete your assessments in the timeframes specified, your application won't be considered.
Step 3: Digital interview
If your assessment results are up to scratch, they'll send you an invite to record answers in a digital interview format, highlighting your skills and your desire to work for Bankwest.
Step 4: Attend one of our Assessment Centres
Next, you’ll be invited to one of their assessment centres where you’ll take part in a group exercise and interview with a senior business leader. Make sure you ask any questions you have now, it's a good opportunity.
Step 5: Your offer
If you’re a successful applicant you'll receive a call, and any more information you need will be provided.
Graduate pay is around the industry average and it’s also possible to earn bonuses. Bankwest colleagues get discounts on a range of financial products as well as access to the bank’s impressive, not-for-profit health fund. The bank provides study assistance and paid leave to those undertaking further education related to their role. It has an impressive employee-recognition program. It also provides flexible working arrangements and a variety of leave options, including the ability to buy extra annual leave.
Given its smaller size in comparison to other bigger banks, there potentially aren’t as many opportunities for rapid advancement at Bankwest as it can be more likely the case if you were (directly) employed by one of the Big Four banks. Bankwest is a business that looks to be genuinely committed to support you and your future career. They are big on promoting a culture of developing their own people and their people's careers.
The vibe of the place
Bankwest colleagues frequently describe it as the most upbeat, fun and friendly workplace they have ever experienced. The bank takes promoting diversity and providing flexible working arrangements seriously. Senior managers are approachable and eager to provide mentoring. Colleagues, especially those in the graduate program, socialise frequently, getting together for everything from board-game nights, to sporting events to Friday night drinks.
Star Rating: 4.2 stars
From the Employer:
"What working at Bankwest offers you
At Bankwest, we’re big on people. The whole company is full of them. Not just any kind. The good kind. The kind that are passionate about other people, and putting customers at the heart of everything they do. They make for pretty great people to work with, which makes Bankwest a pretty great place to work.
Our unique brand of banking begins with exceptional people and our Graduate Program is essential to this. Designed to attract the best and brightest, our Program is a challenging and rewarding way to kick-start a long-term career with us. As a Bankwest grad, you'll participate in a development program like no other. You’ll experience around 10 training days, three conferences (including one that our grads design and deliver!), career mentoring, exposure to senior leaders, as well as playing a key role in the graduate committee. The sense of community and networks that our development program fosters will set you up for life at Bankwest.
Whether you aspire to become a world class sales specialist helping our customers achieve their dreams, an engineer finding solutions to real world problems, or even our future Managing Director, our Graduate Program is a great place to start!"