Citigroup plans to hire more than 1,000 veterans this year as part of a firm-wide and national initiative to find employment for those returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Citi hired 686 veterans last year for its North America business lines and has brought on 300 this year in January and February alone.
The 1,000 hires is just a starting point. Citi's actual hiring of vets is "likely to be far in excess of our target," said Suni Harford, regional head of markets for North America and a senior executive driving the veteran hiring effort for the firm.
Veterans "are really very mature for their age," Harford said. "They have a certain level of maturity to have had so much experience at such a young age." The firm values veterans because they are disciplined, loyal, can multi-task very well and know how to deal with stressful situations, she said.
Citigroup is part of the White House's Joined Forces Initiative, which helps veterans re-integrate into society by helping them find educational and employment opportunities. The firm is also part of the group Veterans on Wall Street, which includes five firms -- Citi, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs -- that seek to bring veterans into the financial services industry.
Citi wants veterans for all businesses, including consumer, compliance/regulatory and institutional units such as investment banking and sales and trading. For officers in the military, there are opportunities in investment banking or any of the other units that require college degrees. For enlisted personnel who may not have undergraduate degrees, there are positions available in operations, technology and on the retail side.
Three-quarters of Citi's hires per year are for operations, technology and on the consumer side, said Harford.
To make the hiring process easier for veterans, Citi allows them to join the firm at any time, instead of the usual June start date for analysts who come after they graduate college. It has also instituted an accelerated promotion program for veterans who display the ability to learn quickly.To get them interested in the first place, Citi offers virtual career fairs and virtual job interviews.
"We're in a very slow hiring mode for all positions [beyond veterans], so I'm even prouder of our methods to attract veterans," Harford said. "We are geared well for hiring them and have a variety of hiring needs that that are ideal for a population and talent pool that's varied."
Write to Julie Steinberg at Julie.Steinberg@dowjones.com