Bank PO vs Bank SO: Which one you should opt for?

In this article, we shall try to answer this doubt by discussing various pros and cons about both the profiles so that you can make an informed choice.

Bank PO Vs BAnk SO : Which is better?
Bank PO Vs BAnk SO : Which is better?


In the recent years bank probationary officer jobs have become very popular among the average job aspirants of the country because of regular and fast recruitment process. Aspirants line up to vie for these jobs and with the advent of technology and other related issues, a specialist cadre of officers is also required nowadays in banks. In order to fulfill that requirement, banks recruit specialist officers in various disciplines such as IT, Law, Human Resources, Agriculture field officer etc. IBPS is the agency which undertakes both the recruitments generally with two examinations conducted annually in the form of IBSP PO and IBPS SO. Now that engineers are coming to banking in large numbers, it is often seen that a candidate ends up with jobs in both generalist as well as specialized cadres and it becomes an uphill task for him or her to decide the right course of action. In this article, we shall try to answer this doubt by discussing various pros and cons about both the profiles so that you can make an informed choice.

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Bank PO: A Diverse Role

Basically, a generalist officer in any bank is the backbone of a bank because of the range of assignments that he or she has to manage in the whole career, starting from branch banking to corporate banking, wealth management, third party products, alternate delivery channels, credit, foreign operations, the roles are diverse. So, what are the characteristics of this job?

  • You have to don many hats: This is the primary characteristic of this job since you have to deal with illiterate farmers to the likes of Ambani, Birlas etc. You get a number of opportunities to contribute positively towards the economic development of your country throughout your career because of the various roles you will get.
  • Rural and semi urban postings: Yes, as PO, you are definitely going to get postings in rural and semi urban areas more than once in your career. It depends solely on your luck and performance the branch you get. But, get ready to serve at an unheard place without any basic amenities of life.
  • Frequent transfers: The bank management expects you to be mobile and fit in any given set up and excel in each and every challenge that the bank throws at you in your whole career. Transfers are hard and but that is the reality of this job. You get transfer in three years and nobody knows where in the world.
  • Fast promotions: If you are an ambitious guy with a penchant for excellence, this is the job for you since PO can become the general manager of a bank in less than 20 years just because of his or her hard work and dedication.
  • Learning curve is more: You have to learn new things everyday because of your work profile. You never know how your day will end before that actually ends. You may start for office thinking that you will come early that day but what awaits you in office nobody knows. Hence, you have to have presence of mind, quick decision making power to overcome these difficulties.
  • Stress is more than other officer cadres: This is because branch banking and officers are the main backbones of the total business of a bank. That makes these officers liable to increase the business of the bank in areas where there is already fierce competition between banks to acquire market space.

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Bank SO: Chance to stick to your field of study

A bank needs to take care of a number of issues in order to ensure that the business of the bank is running smoothly and to ensure that, it recruits officers in disciplines such as HR, Law, Information technology, Rajbhasha Adhikari etc who take care of issues related to these particular areas. So, what are you going to face in these roles?

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  • You are going to use your academic knowledge: If you are very passionate about your academic subject, this job will give you the chance to apply all you have learnt in your college and university. You are going to deal with issues everyday that will require you to apply your academic knowledge.
  • Urban postings: If you are a big fan of urban life, Bank SO is the job for you. You are going to be posted either in the regional office or zonal office or the head office of the bank throughout your career. There is no chance that you have to live at a place with no basic amenities of life.
  • Less transfers: This is because there are very few places where the specialist officers may be transferred since for may be 100 branches, there is one regional office and so on. Hence, these officers only get transferred four to five times maximum in their whole careers.
  • Less chance of promotion: Yes, you have read that right. You can rise upto a certain level but after that, you need to switch to general banking if you want to rise upto the level of general manager or executive director of the bank, otherwise, get ready to retire at a middle scale but with comfortable life.
  • Very less stress: You are hardly going to face any stress in your everyday job since there is nothing much to do for these officers on a daily basis. But, there will be cases where you need to be at your best to deal with that particular situation. Hence, get ready to preserve that knowledge base of yours for the special occasions.
  • No public dealing: You are a banker but you do not have to deal with general public at all. You can sit at the comfort of your regional office and relax, never knowing the pathetic conditions of many of your branches in your own region where officers may not even get water on a regular basis, leave alone anything else.
  • Salary is at par with generalist officers: This is true for specialist officers despite the lack of responsibility that they have to undergo. You are going to get the same salary and along with that, facilities such as urban life, basic amenities of life etc.

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Bank PO and Bank SO are good for various purposes and it is not possible to say that one is good for all or the other is so. But, if you want to make your career in banking, Bank PO should be your aim because in the long run, this experience will help you scale new heights whereas if you are looking for banking as a stepping stone for your career, Bank SO is the option you should go for because it will give you ample time to prepare for other jobs and clear other exams. Decision is yours as it depends on you which one you want.

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All the best!!

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