Technologists are at the forefront of most banks’ recruiting efforts these days. Artificial intelligence, digitising previously manual tasks and big data are all driving how banks look for new hires.
But why would a tech graduate choose Wall Street over Silicon Valley? Despite the high salaries in the banking sector, there is stiff competition for those with a technology background from the likes of Facebook and Google. Banks’ are googlising their offices, ditching dress codes and making every effort to show grads that they’re really hip places to work.
Then there are the more unorthodox recruitment techniques. Royal Bank of Scotland has been attaching sensors to the heads of potential graduate recruits while showing them a series of images and videos and measuring their brain activity and attention spans. RBS then tells students what their personality type is and which group or division of the bank might be the best fit for them.
To find the best tech talent on university campuses, most banks host hackathons – marathon coding sessions often fuelled by late-night take-out food and beer, according to Bloomberg. Deutsche Bank has doubled the size of its technology graduate headcount over the past two years with a focus on adding software engineers.
Daniel Pinto, the CEO of J.P. Morgan’s investment bank, claims that his bank hadn’t had a problem attracting talent and that almost 80% of the corporate and investment bank’s new hires last year were millennials. Last year J.P. Morgan ramped up the number of technology staff it hired. It spends roughly $9bn a year on technology, including developer salaries, cybersecurity and about $3bn earmarked for new investments. Bank of America Merrill Lynch also spends about $3bn a year for new technology projects.
A senior mergers banker or trader with 15-plus years’ experience could expect to earn around £300k ($375k) this year, according to pay benchmarking website Emolument.com, compared to a senior software developer with a similar level of experience who’s likely to be earning £110k ($136k). However, developers are closing the gap. Senior M&A bankers’ pay has dropped 23% annually since 2015, while senior software developers got a 14% year-over-year increase.
Separately, in Michael Lewis’ 80s Wall Street memoir Liar’s Poker, the prospect of being a guy forced to trade “equities in Dallas” or another satellite office far from the real action in the Big Apple meant you’d lost it.
Now, Goldman Sachs is spreading its banker web beyond New York, putting boots on the ground in satellite offices across the country including in Dallas. These are not Siberia postings, but plum jobs suggests the WSJ. These are both front office investment banking jobs and prime brokerage roles.
No word yet on whether bankers can earn as much in Texas or other offices outside of Wall Street, but on the plus side the cost of living will be considerable lower – unless you’re transferred to San Francisco, that is.
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