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San Francisco: Opportunities? Yes. Money? Not So Much

The city by the Bay's job market is thinner than New York's, and the compensation isn't as high, says one recruiter who asked that his identity not be disclosed. But thanks to the area's proximity to Silicon Valley, the demand for deal makers is pretty strong.

Base salaries are comparable to Wall Street though the bonuses aren't as lucrative. "In New York, it's not difficult to get to seven figures or multiple seven figures," the recruiter notes. In San Francisco, "it's doable but rarer."

One thing that New York and San Francisco do have in common is sky-high real estate prices. People moving to Northern California from anywhere besides the Big Apple are in for a rude awakening. A three-bedroom, three-bathroom condominium in San Francisco's fashionable Nob Hill neighborhood lists for $2.2 million. If that shocks you, you don't want to know the prices for single-family homes.

Junior-level bankers can expect a signing bonus. As in other markets, people with three to seven years experience are especially in demand. Prospective employers will buy out someone's accrued bonus for the year in order to lure them to their firms. However, don't expect to get the two-year contracts that are common on Wall Street, the recruiter warns.

Those experienced in investment banking may find luck with the area's thriving hedge funds, which are continuing to look for people. The recruiter also sees opportunities on trading desks.

The moral: If you want to bring your heart to San Francisco, there are plenty of employers interested in hiring investment bankers. Just don't forget your wallet.

Bankers in San Francisco: Chime in by adding your comment below.

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AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • El
    Eloise
    22 May 2007

    This may be true, but for someone whose alma mater is San Francisco State University there may be no other choice but to work in San Francisco. Any jobs, not just investment banking jobs. Trying to get a job doing anything using a degree from SFSU was like trying to get blood out of a turnip. The rest of the world sees SFSU on the resume as the alma mater and throws it away without looking at the rest of it. For some of us who went to college in San Francisco, jobs in San Francisco seem to be the only ones that will hire us at all.

  • Th
    The Fijian Warren Buffet
    17 March 2007

    This article is surprising but not really for anyone living in the S.F. area. Investment banking jobs are very difficult to get into in the area, especially if you are a new grad with limited or no experience i.e. internships. I had to take a job as an analyst in the healthcare field because after months of searching I could not find an investment banking position. It is unfortuante that in S.F. once you finally get an investment banking position you are paid less than your peers in New York even though the cost of living is roughly about the same. I guess thats the price you pay for having good weather year round.

  • Pe
    Per Arviddson
    15 March 2007

    strip clubs are actually better in the S.bay

    Aren't asset managers supposed to be busy these days? -Ed.

  • An
    Anonymous
    15 March 2007

    This is true about most finance careers in in SF. Unless you're content to be a financial analyst at an internet or tech company, making significantly less than Wall Street, banking jobs are few and far between. If you want to be in SF, you have to accept the landscape of less opportunity. Hedge funds are always an option, but you must accept the volatility of both the industry and the fund's management.

  • An
    Anonymous
    15 March 2007

    Hi, This is good view point about SF Investment Banking market. Can somebody throw some light on the Software Jobs in Investment Banking firms and how is there outlook in these two cities?

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