I have seen uninformed thread after uninformed thread bout Back Office roles at investment banks.
The threads essentially assume that:
1) Everyone in the world wants to be an investment banker and got into the industry with that in mind.
2) Back Office roles are monotonous and/or do not intersect with product knowledge.
3) There is no way to move between roles in a big bank.
4) Back Office roles are clerical work.
5) The pay is bad.
6) There are no exit opportunities for Back Office people.
Let's go through these point by point:
1) I never planned to work at an investment bank in the first place. I entered my firm because the type of work that I do relates to my degree and professional background.
2) I deal directly with products every day. In order to perform my role, which is detailing the mechanics of the products we trade to clients, I have to understand the mechanics of the products. My co-workers and I nearly always understand the mechanics of the products that we trade better than the Sales people, which is why we reach out to the TRADING desks, not the Sales desks for product questions. Sales people are often not very bright.
3) I have seen many, many people move between divisions. This includes Back Office to Front Office, Front Office to Back Office (the guy HATED working on the Sales desk), Back Office to Legal, Back Office to Compliance, etc.
4) The work that we do is extraordinarily complex. As stated above, we need to have a deep product knowledge in order to explain the products to clients. We often explain products features to Sales desks (who, again, often have no idea how products work). We are also more in tune with industry updates.
5) I work in a smaller market and make close to 6 figures.
6) Every person that I have seen leave the Back Office, EVERY PERSON, has had another and often higher paying job waiting. People have moved to other Investment Banks, to Business Intelligence roles (a TON of back office work relates to Business Intelligence and Analytics), Research Roles, etc.