What it does: One of the ‘Big Four’ banks in Australia and one of the top 50 largest banks in the world (in terms of market capitalisation and total assets)
Staff stats: Around 35,000 staff spread across more than 800 locations in Australia, New Zealand and around the world
The good bits: Friendly co-workers, good money, ethical employer
The not so good bits: Flat structure makes it difficult to reach senior positions
The NAB story
NAB resulted from the 1982 merger of the National Commercial Banking Corporation of Australia, National Bank of Australasia and Commercial Banking Company of Sydney. The company then pursued an aggressive overseas expansion strategy. However, it ended up selling or closing many of its foreign outposts and concentrating on Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, Asia, especially after buying MLC Limited in 2000.
Headquartered in Melbourne, NAB has almost 13 million customers, $945 billion of assets and annual revenues in excess of $20 billion.
Like its three largest competitors, NAB offers personal, business and wholesale banking, as well as online share trading. Through MLC it offers financial advice, investment planning, superannuation and insurance.
Over the last eight years, NAB has marketed itself as an ethical business that steers clear of “unfair banking” practices . Among other initiatives, it has abolished various fees and charges and made it easier for customers to keep their homes while in financial difficulty. NAB aims to understand and support their customers and “take the hard work out of banking”.
As part of its strategy to differentiate itself as ‘the ethical bank’, NAB aimed to be an employer of choice. It aspires to a culture of inclusion and to be attractive to “people of different backgrounds, generations and cultures”. It has introduced numerous initiatives to attract and retain women, mature age workers, Indigenous Australians and people with accessibility needs. It also has flexible work practices, generous parental leave and puts a lot of effort into staff development and retention.
NAB aims to spend one per cent of its cash earnings before tax on corporate social responsibility initiatives. It’s the largest Fairtrade-accredited workplace in Australia. It’s also one of the nation’s largest carbon-neutral companies. Those in the grad program are provided various opportunities to get involved, from paid volunteer leave to social responsibility projects.
The recruitment process
Like most financial institutions, NAB has a rigorous application process. You’ll need to go to the grad program application page of the NAB website fill a detailed online application. This step is followed by several online tests and a video interview. If you make the cut, you’ll then attend an engagement centre where you will take part in a number of group and individual activities and hear from current and past grads. NAB is looking for candidates who have solid academic performance, been involved in leadership and community activities and have a strong focus on customer service.
Expect a starting salary that is “market matched, well-structured and fair”. You’ll get significant discounts on loans, credit cards and insurance policies, as well as access to good deals on everything from gym memberships to travel.
The grad program runs for 15 months and involves rotations through your selected stream. While in the program you’ll be doing meaningful work, be given personalised learning and networking opportunities and get regular exposure to senior staff. At the end of the grad program you are guaranteed a permanent role in your program stream.
The vibe of the place
Customer service is vital in banking, so it’s no surprise NAB attracts and recruits those with smooth interpersonal skills and a strong customer focus. That means you can expect a friendly, collaborative workplace environment along with plenty of opportunities to socialise with colleagues. NAB walks the walk as well as talking the talk when it comes to encouraging principled behaviour. That translates into what one grad describes as a “be authentic and respectful” code of behaviour. The culture can vary across departments but integrity, a passion for customers and behaving like a team player are expected wherever you are.
Overall satisfaction rating among grad employees: 4.1 stars
From the employer:
"We have built our business on understanding our customers and supporting them. We aim to take the hard work out of banking. As Australia’s largest business bank, we work with small, medium and large businesses to help them start, run and grow. We fund some of the most important infrastructure in our communities – including schools, hospitals and roads. And we do it in a way that’s responsible, inclusive and innovative.
We know that to be Australia and New Zealand’s most respected bank, we need to be good with money. And we need to be just as good with people, too.
You’ve studied hard and you’re ready to take the next step. We understand that once you graduate, it’s not always easy to find your groove. We can help you develop the skills, knowledge and network with which to build an exciting and inspiring career.
At NAB, we work together to deliver exceptional outcomes that push the limits of expectations. Our passion about creating value and exceeding our customers' expectations means we're constantly striving to redefine our standards of excellence. NAB is a place where you can demonstrate and develop your talents, and determine what you want from your career and be encouraged to achieve it."