It's Goldman vs. Google in Headhunt Derby

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A recent Bloomberg News story details how Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch are jumping through hoops to hire and hold onto new graduates as the finance sector's staffing needs balloon while both hedge funds and Google offer alluring alternatives.

"Wall Street and Silicon Valley are courting ....kids with top grades, finance and math skills and a couple of languages -- more heavily than any students since the days of the '90s dot-com explosion," the article says.

While financial services employment soared 37 percent from 1996-2006, the number of computer science majors has plunged 39 percent since 2001. Wall Street headhunters acknowledge that their toughest challenge is pulling in computer graduates to help build hot new areas like algorithmic trading systems. But they're also competing fiercely for top graduates to fill slots in more traditional areas like investment banking, the article says.

"Our hiring issues are a high-class problem. The students we want are the same ones that everyone else wants,'' Goldman's head U.S. campus recruiter, Janet Raiffa, told Bloomberg.

To illustrate what the Street's recruiters are up against, Bloomberg cites a recent Georgia Tech computer science master's degree graduate from China. She had two separate offers from Goldman, one from Google and two from Microsoft; and a headhunter called her about Renaissance Technologies, the super-successful quant hedge fund that's reputed to pay more than any other employer on earth.

The candidate chose Google, and told Bloomberg that "Goldman's current package is not enough to compete with West Coast IT companies'' -- especially after accounting for benefits like flexible hours and a host of lifestyle perks.

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