Bank PO vs Bank SO – Job, Salary, Career Progression


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.

Bank PO vs Bank SO

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:

  1. IBPS PO/ SBI PO preliminary exam
  2. IIBPS PO / SBI mains exam
  3. 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.

  1. A  career as a Bank PO begins as a Junior Manager Grade Scale or JMGS Officer.
  2. A minimum of 2 years of probation is mandatory for the incumbents.
  3. 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

  1. The career begins as IBPS SO Scale I office, which is the Junior Management Level Post.
  2. After serving a few years in the bank, one can expect to be promoted to Scale II officer level.
  3. 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.

Stay connected for more information regarding IBPS SO Recruitment 2021. To excel in IBPS Exams, download the Best IBPS SO Exam Preparation App for free.

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    • Bank PO gives you an opportunity to work upon multiple job profiles and acquire skills which can enhance your overall resume.
      So Yes, according to us, a career in Bank PO can be more exciting when compared with Bank SO career.

      But we still leave the final decision on you.
      All the Best Arun.

    • We agree the examination is tough.
      Bank PO just happens to offer multiple career opportunities. But selecting the right ones, that decision is in your hands.
      There is no hard and fast rule that Bank PO will definitely be better than every career.

        • As a probationary officer, you get to learn about multiple areas of work, like marketing, accounting, banking processes, client management and customer service. Although a career as a Bank PO has a good growth rate and salary revision (every 5 years in SBI), you can still opt for private jobs if you want to or go for private banks.

        • graduate can apply. but with restriction of special department working environment for SO, it is mandatory that u need to have that particular qualification such as agriculture department requires agriculture background or related graduates. we just need to see that we relate to that particular department work environment.
          like u said mechanical eng can’t apply for SO, u didn’t mention for what dept. u are not eligible.. so need to mind it.

    • Totally depends on the candidate’s preference.
      There are a lot of special provisions for PH Candidates. But when it comes to regular transfers, a Bank SO might be a better choice.

    • Yes, Bank SO can be promoted to a Managerial Position.

      Salary for the post of Specialist Officer Scale 1 & 2 is provided here:

      Officer JMG Scale I
      Rs 14500 600/7 18700 700/2 20100 800/7 – 25700/-

      Officer MMG Scale II
      Rs 19400 700/1 20100 800/10 – 28100/-

  1. dear sir,
    i am holder and i am trying to Bank IT officer jobs , it is suitable for me or not ?
    SO job is respectable job or not or it is like as normally computer engineer which are going for computer maintenance in houses or other office .
    it is an officer type job or not?? what is salary ?
    can be move to General banking if we move then i have to start from start post or in the scale of in which i am doing job or treat as junior officer after 5 year job

  2. Hello sir,

    I want to know the time period of increments in salaries of both Po and so. And including all perks which is better one in both?

  3. Hi
    I have interview SO 14 noon in Hyd

    What shall i prepare mostly? ?
    And how can i build my personality!!!

    And what is cutoff marks for marketing officers for ST category

    Please inform me…..

  4. Im preparing for civil services. bt nw due to financial condition, want to work in bank. wil clear both PO and SO of 2015. what to chose if I want to take time for study? My home in Pune

  5. I am selected as SBI Assistant Manager (System) this year. Should I join? right now I am working in rajasthan and my in hand salary is 25K and my office is walk in distance from my home. What will be the in hand salary in SBI as Assistant Manager (System). and how will be the promotions and increment happens?

  6. hi ..
    what is the salary in hand for SBI assistant manager systems? what are the promotion chances? is it a good or just a side line job?

  7. Sir ,
    I have done PGDM in marketing do i eligible for marketing officer . Because in eligibility they have written MBA or PGDBM or PGDBA .. waiting for ur reply ..

    • hellooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo………… sir i want to say something ..firstly I want to ask something to uuu ..,,,In banking sector , who is the best official level job plzz tell me sir ,,,,,,,,,,,,i know po is the best , but i want to know in addition to po ////////////////////////////

      • Sir,i am from panipat (haryana)and i have a family including 6 months old son.
        I need a bank job in panipat.
        So from both bank Po and so, in which job i can get easily and as early as possible transfer in panipat.

  8. Hello sir,
    I am computer engineer, so which is best career option for me, either PO or SO. Plz guide me.
    Thank U.

  9. hello sir,
    I am preparing for SO IT officer Bank exam just 2016 passout. Want to ask about salary growth. If we start with this salary as mentioned Rs 14500 600/7 18700 700/2 20100 800/7 – 25700/- then what will be my salary after 10 years and after 20 years. as SO and PO. I want this comparison, in terms of salary growth

  10. I am working as an SO marketing in union bank of India .It is a complete field job and postings are worst ….I am from kolkata and posted in tamilnadu, where they ask me to bring business but people here speak only tamil .My job duties include visiting shops and exporters randomly and give my cards to them and also deal bankassurance and mutual funds…This is the realty of a marketing officer today in a PSU bank.Promotions are slow as well.So guyz before applying and joining please ensure whether you would like to make a career as a marketing officer and enjoy the job or not.And yes we have three years of bond as well…of Rs 250000.

  11. Hi,

    After getting selected for SBI IT officer (With few years of experience into MMGS II level), We need to report at Mumbai.
    So, how many days will the training go on and when will we be posted to other locations.?
    Can we opt or request for specific location.?

    Thanks in Advance.

  12. good comparison.
    i wanted to ask,
    Q. Iam a post graduate in Animal physiology(M.Sc. Animal physio) which is life science field… If i Apply fo SBI SO… which department wil i be working in? wil i have to work in the agriculural department? will i always be posted only in rural areas? as u have mentioned above, job posting is metro cities only.. can u please answer these question.. will be a great favour and help… thank you

  13. hi
    currently i am in final year of and my trade is electronics and communication.
    Will i be eligible to apply for ibps So IT officer?

  14. Sir,
    Is Electrical and Electronics Engineering student is eligible for the post of IT officer in bank SO exam because it is not clearly mentioned about this branch as we study all the subjects related IT field in our curriculum same as the IT or Computer science branch student studied.

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