It's been said so often that it's become a modern-day cliché. Bankers (allegedly) are all about self-gratification; healthcare professionals are all about the greater good. Is this why people are leaving banking to work for the British National Health Service (NHS)?
The flow from City to sanatoria is more trickle than a gush, but it's happening (slowly). Zara Boyd, a first year analyst who quit Morgan Stanley in March, has resurfaced in all sorts of NHS-roles. Sarah Baverstock, a former global head of HR at SocGen and head of HR for EMEA and Asia at struggling BTG Pactual is retraining as a midwife.
Unfortunately, you can't just walk into a medical career. In the same way that a career in banking needs to be prefaced by endless internships and maybe even a Masters in Finance, a medical career needs to be prefaced by some sort of post graduate medical qualification and endless years as a postgraduate medical trainee. Needless to say you won't nearly earn as much in the process. The average total wage (including overtime) for a doctor in training in the UK is £37k for a maximum 48 hour working week (on average). Average total pay for a first year analyst 'in training' in an investment bank is anything from £60k to £78k.
Working in medicine does have some upside over working in finance though. Firstly, if you work in medicine in the UK, you probably won't lose your job - especially if you now have the great advantage (or not) of holding a 'British passport.' Secondly, demographics make medicine a growth area for the foreseeable future. Thirdly, people at the top of medical tree are paid pretty well. Consultants in the NHS can earn £200k+ through overtime, although their basic salaries range from £76k to £102k. And they get to do good in the process.
Neither Baverstock nor Boyd responded to requests for comment.