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Morning Coffee: The real reason why 20-somethings want to work in finance. Female bankers need to be ‘brave’

Money, not love

In a world where restless millennials want excitement, gratification and rapid progression, but also struggle to escape their parents and become self-sufficient, investment banks have something important to offer: cold, hard cash.

More young adults in the U.S. are living with their parents than at any time since 1940. Today's 20-somethings are weighed down by an average of $29.4k in student loans. Contrary to perception, a new survey by Manpower of 19,000 20-36 year olds reported in the FT suggests they're not thrill-seekers: they want job security (87%) and money (92%) over anything else.

This is where banks and professional services firms can help. In your first year working in an investment bank, you should bring in $113k (£77k). Big Four firms offer starting salaries of £35-40k ($50-58k) and pay rapidly increases after a little experience.

Savvy finance companies like PwC and Fidelity have started offering cash to pay off student loans as part of their benefits package. Expect more to follow, particularly as banks staff up with relatively cheap millennials over more expensive senior employees.

Millennials are not swaggering know-it-alls happy to work in a gig economy. They’re a product of recession, desperate to succeed and seeking a decent job.  “While they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, the fear is palpable,” an associate professor at a business school told the FT. “The desire to get hitched on to the economy, ideally in a good job, is strong.”

The truth is that junior bankers like banking. They like the fact that the job is well paid and they grudgingly accept that a tough working environment and a rigid hierarchy are all part of the deal. This might be why Goldman Sachs received 43,000 applications for its graduate scheme and hired just 4% of them... Banking is as popular than ever and only brilliant 20-something students with huge numbers of internships make the cut.

Separately, in a week of introspection from senior bankers, one has offered this piece of advice to her younger self: “I’d tell 22-year-old me that practice makes you perfectly brave. Be brave about speaking up even when you have nothing to say. Be brave, vocal and practice asking for things like more high profile projects, raises and recognition.”


Jes Staley won’t sit back and let U.S. investment banks dominate in Europe (Bloomberg)

Bond trading revenues will 'only' be down 10% year on year (WSJ)

HSBC is hiring 4,500 people in the delta region (Financial Times)

J.P. Morgan has fired 100 private bankers, but continues to ‘actively hire’ (WSJ)

SocGen has installed a new head of equity derivatives (Financial News)

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has had a very good year (Financial News)

Investment banks are back in love with their asset management arms (Financial News)

Ireland is looking to attract more finance jobs, regardless of a Brexit (Bloomberg)

Capula has poached a senior portfolio manager from Bluecrest (Bloomberg)

Winton Capital Management has a ‘beauty of mathematics’ garden at the Chelsea Flower Show (Financial Times)

HSBC has a new head of FX cash trading (Reuters)

Travelling to your friend’s wedding is not an acceptable gift. The economics of matrimony (Quartz)

AUTHORPaul Clarke
  • cp
    25 May 2016

    At last an article that does justice to the much decried Millennials. While it certainly does not apply to the whole age group, it still accurately depicts a part of it. But then again, what a stupid idea to find generalities on such a heterogeneous demography...

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