Have Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley become a breeding ground for Google?

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One of the bigger tasks facing human resources departments and recruiters at big banks is competing with tech companies over top junior talent. Indeed, the latest ranking of dream internships is led by four tech giants: Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Ranked third two years ago, Goldman Sachs now sits in fifth position. J.P. Morgan has fallen three spots to eighth since 2016 after being leapfrogged by Amazon and Tesla.

Frankly, this narrative isn’t a new one. Highly-sought-after interns and fresh graduates who used to flock to big-name banks years ago have been begun targeting high-profile tech companies with more prevalence, mostly due to the perceived difference in work-life balance. But what about veteran employees? People who have already begun their careers in technology at investment banks. How often do they jump to tech giants? And what about the reverse? A thorough mining of LinkedIn shows that tech giants like Google and Facebook are doing plenty of poaching from top banks while just a handful of tech veterans have headed the other direction.

More than 630 people who list Goldman Sachs as a previous employer currently work at Google. Meanwhile, just 132 Goldman employees count themselves as Google alums. The disparity is even starker at Facebook, which employs at least 226 former Goldman Sachs vets – a particularly big number considering current headcount at Facebook is around 22k (and not everyone is on LinkedIn). Just 29 former Facebook alums list Goldman as their current employer.

The recruiting advantage over experienced tech talent is even more pronounced when looking at J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. More than 220 former JPM employees work at Google compared to just 29 who have gone the other direction, according to LinkedIn. Facebook employs roughly 80 J.P Morgan alumni while only two former Facebook employees are now with the investment banking giant. The worst ratio is at Morgan Stanley, which has lost at least 550 people to Google and 180 to Facebook while poaching just over 40 employees combined between the two tech giants.

“I wouldn’t say we went out of our way to recruit (tech talent) from banks, but I was always interested when a resume came across my desk that included names like Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan,” said a former team lead at Google. “You know they are going to be well-trained and will be able to handle the workload.” He said that, from his experience, former bank employees had a lower attrition rate than people who came over from other tech companies. “I think we were able to offer them something different from what they were used to.”

To be fair, tech companies like Google and Facebook are growing at a fast rate while most investment banks are cutting headcount or treading water. But not in technology. In May, Goldman chief information officer Elisha Wiesel said tech recruiting was “pretty staggering” in 2017, with the number of lateral hires increasing to 864 last year from 335 in 2016. Most every other investment bank is making a similar effort – they just seem to be losing the recruiting war with top tech companies, both with recent graduates and experienced tech professionals.

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