The Indian banking industry has witnessed tremendous growth in the last decade owing to favourable banking policies and government initiatives to strengthen the banking sector. The banking sector offers massive growth opportunities to candidates who wish to pursue a career in it. Every year recruitment agencies hire thousands of applicants for multiple posts, including bank (PO) and bank (SO). The SO full form in bank is Specialist Officer, and PO is a probationary officer. Both the posts are respected in society and offer numerous benefits to the incumbent officers.
Candidates preparing for the bank exams must have a sound knowledge of the bank PO and SO posts, as it will aid them in selecting the right career path.
This article will compare bank PO and bank SO on multiple aspects such as job profile, salary and allowances, and career growth and opportunities.
Bank PO vs Bank SO – Job Profile
The work profile of probationary officers and specialist officers differ at various levels. We will start our analysis by focusing on the fundamental differences between them.
Bank PO Job Description – Major Tasks and Duties
The selection procedure of Bank PO is quite stringent, and aspirants need to clear either IBPS PO or SBI PO exam to start their career in the banking domain. The selection process is elaborated below:
- IBPS PO/ SBI PO preliminary exam
- IIBPS PO / SBI mains exam
- IBPS PO/ SBI personal interview
Candidates need to work hard and stay committed to score higher marks in the exams and fulfil their dream of becoming bank PO.
Candidates selected for the post of probationary officers have to undergo training organised by the banking authorities to educate them regarding their duties and responsibilities. In some banks, a probationary officer also named Management Trainee. An officer stays under probation for two years and is assigned multiple tasks related to the banking process.
Some of the tasks and duties assigned to a Bank PO are:
- Customer service and relationship management
- Professional link building
- Document verification
- Banking process management like cash counters, authorisation of transactions
- Increasing bank’s customer base
- Increasing the departmental efficiency
- Managerial and supervision of the branch
Bank SO Job Description – Major Tasks and Duties
The selection process of Bank SO is identical to Bank PO. The exam is conducted by the IBPS once a year. IBPS SO exam pattern is similar to the IBPS PO exam; preliminary exam followed by mains exam and personal interview with the IBPS panel.
Candidate clearing the IBPS Bank SO exam are appointed as specialised officers in multiple departments. Each department in a Bank has its own set of functions, and an SO in Bank job responsibilities depend on the department they are assigned after recruitment.
The various departments and duties assigned to a Bank SO in them are as follows:
1. Bank SO (IT Officer)
A Bank SO in the IT department holds the key to managing, controlling and optimising numerous tasks of the banking system. As a Specialist Officer in the IT Department, you could be handling either one of these services.
- Data centre maintenance and support
- Queries related to ATM
- Maintenance of computer systems in the bank
- Software and MIS maintenance
- Network security maintenance and query processing
2. Bank SO (Marketing Officer)
The job profile of a Bank SO in the marketing department can be pretty hectic. The primary responsibility of marketing officers is to create marketing campaigns and strategies to increase the business and income. Some of the important tasks assigned to a Specialist Officer in the Marketing Department are as follows.
- Prepare a cost-effective budget for advertising. In addition to this, marketing officers have to assist in the negotiation process at multiple levels.
- Manage various marketing channels such as posters, televised commercials, newspaper ads etc. It is also necessary to check and cross-check content shared through these channels.
- Most importantly, handle certain aspects of the Bank PR Department to foster a positive image of the Bank from customers and possible clients.
3. Bank SO (HR Officer)
As the name suggests, Specialist Officer in the HR Department will be looking into Human Resource Activities. The set of essential tasks and duties of a Bank SO in the HR Department are:
- Analyse existing HR policies. Suggest changes if required.
- Implement new policies fostering a positive attitude among the people working in the Bank.
- Handle all cases of misconduct that require attention from the HR department.
- At times, be a part of the Selection and Recruitment Committee.
4. Bank SO (Law Officer)
A Specialist Officer in the Department of Law handles all the legal work of the Bank. A set of tasks assigned a Bank SO in the law department are:
- Look into the current policies and detect errors, if any.
- Draft legal notice and documents for various processes in a Bank.
- Provide Legal Assistance in issues related to bank frauds, accusations, etc.
- Safeguard the integrity and reputation of the Bank.
5. Bank SO (Agricultural Field Officer)
The branches in the rural areas generally require an Agricultural Field Officer to carry out the duties. The tasks on a Bank SO as an Agricultural Field Officer can be quite challenging. Here is a brief overview of the various functions and responsibilities.
- Provide detailed information to all the customers about various banking processes and schemes. The customers can sometimes be less educated and require more assistance.
- Explain government-related schemes and benefits plan to the people.
- Promote loans of all the people who fulfil the criteria and norms of the bank.
6. Bank SO (Rajbhasha Adhikari)
Public sector banks appoint a Rajbhasha Adhikari in some branches to promote the usage of the Hindi language for carrying out daily tasks. They are responsible for bridging the language barrier between the customers and the bank staff. The essentials tasks of a Bank SO- Rajbhasha Adhikari are as follows:
- Translate and proofread all the essential documents that are circulated in the Bank. These documents can be internal or outbound. Rajbhasha Adhikari has to complete this task efficiently.
- Organise workshops for training bank personnel in the language that is spoken by most of the customers.
- Rajbhasha Adhikari officers also must ensure that the official notifications and directives sent between the banking government organisations must be Hindi and English.
From the above discussion, we can conclude that:
- A Bank PO has multiple verticals to work upon, which opens doors to various career prospects and,
- A Bank SO has a specialised job profile to cater to various functions of a single department.
Let us move to the following comparison parameter (Pay Scale) between Bank PO and Bank SO.
Bank PO vs Bank SO – Pay Scale
Both Bank PO and Bank SO are handsomely paid by the public sector banks. The below information provides all-inclusive information of Bank PO and Bank SO pay scale.
- Bank PO Pay Scale: Basic Pay- 27,620
- Bank SO Pay Scale – Basic Pay- Rs. 23700
From the above information, we can conclude that there is not much difference in the pay scale of a Bank PO and Bank SO. The only difference occurs in terms of perks and benefits.
- Transportation Assistance
- Personal Assistant
- Top of the Line Laptops for Specialist Officers
Now, let us analyse the Bank PO and Bank SO job posts based on the work environment.
Bank PO vs Bank SO – Work Environment
Work culture and environment both influence the performance of an individual, and hence we will analyse the work environment of Bank PO and Bank SO. This will help the candidates in choosing the right career fit for them.
Bank PO Work Culture
Bank PO has to participate in significant functions and is solely responsible for managing the business and banking activities. The tasks can be challenging and also offer growth opportunities in the bank.
- A Bank PO works in a dynamic environment and learns new tasks ranging from the banking process to client relationship management.
- A bank PO gets a plethora of perks to carry out the daily functions.
- Work-life balance is difficult to attain for a Bank PO.
- A Bank PO working in rural branches has to manage client relationships due to a lack of understanding of banking rules and norms.
Bank PO job is dynamic and requires a person to be energised and adaptive to the environment. Candidates looking for a challenging career can opt for Bank PO.
Bank SO Work Culture
Bank SO has a relatively different work-life than a Bank PO. The type of work responsibilities assigned to an individual entirely depends on the department he/she gets placed. Let us break it down into a Pros and Cons list.
- The job location is primarily a metro city.
- There is a limited set of tasks to perform.
- The job transfers are not as frequent as that of a Bank PO.
- Bank SO offers assistance only to the banking staff. Dealing with clients and customers is not in your job profile.
- The appointed officers have to work on rudimentary and repetitive tasks daily.
- The work environment might get boring at times.
- A Bank SO has to work as per the work schedule of other bank staff.
Based on the discussion, candidates can decide which job profile suits their aspirations and professional needs.
Let us now move to the final segment of the comparison; Carrer Prospects.
Bank PO vs Bank SO – Career Prospects
We will cover job promotions, benefits, skills required, development prospects in this segment.
Bank PO Career Prospects
A career as a Bank PO provides an experience of a lifetime. One gets to about Client Relationship, Banking Processes, Marketing, Accounting etc.
- A career as a Bank PO begins as a Junior Manager Grade Scale or JMGS Officer.
- A minimum of 2 years of probation is mandatory for the incumbents.
- Adding 8-10 years more, one can expect to jump to the post of Senior Manager.
The career graph is highly progressive as compared to any other government job. With the right mindset, candidates can climb the carrer ladder fast.
Bank SO Career Prospects
A Bank SO is appointed to a specialised task based on the profile
- The career begins as IBPS SO Scale I office, which is the Junior Management Level Post.
- After serving a few years in the bank, one can expect to be promoted to Scale II officer level.
- There are no fixed criteria for promoting officers.
The biggest concern while pursuing a career as a Bank SO is the line of work. One can only continue along with a single career path.
Bank PO vs Bank SO – Final Verdict
After comprehending all the comparison aspects, we can conclude the following:
Reasons for pursuing Bank PO Career
- Learning Experience
- Acquire multiple work skills
- Become adaptable to a various work environment
- Highly competitive Job
- Upward career growth
Reasons for pursuing Bank SO Career
- Work-life balance
- Good Salary, job perks and benefits
- Good work location (mostly metro cities)
- Less frequent job transfer
We hope the comparison helps the aspirants in choosing their carrer paths between Bank PO and Bank SO. If there are any further queries, please mention them in the comment section below.
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