If you're feeling at all fretful about the likely security of your finance job when banks' pandemic employment guarantees expire, you could always try the big tech companies. Amazon, Google and Microsoft announced their first quarter results this week and one thing is clear: cloud revenues are booming.
At Google Cloud, revenues rose 52% year-on-year to $2.8bn in the first quarter, with even stronger growth in Google Cloud Platform, Google's public cloud offering. At Amazon Web Services (AWS), revenues were up 33% in Q1. And at Microsoft, commercial cloud revenues were up 39% in the three months to March.
COVID-19 is partly to blame. While the virus cripples some service industries and supply chains, it's working wonders as a catalyst for the adoption of cloud services. “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earlier this week. "The migration to the cloud is absolutely a secular shift," Nadella added during the company's investor call, noting that in a tough economic cycle 'agility, elastictity and better unit economics' are key and that Microsoft's cloud services offer all of this and more.
Even as companies like Google pull back from hiring in other areas, therefore, Cloud-related recruitment is likely to continue. Google employed 123,048 people in total as of March 31st 2020, an increase of 4,149 on the end of 2019. "In terms of product areas, the most sizable headcount increases were again in Google Cloud for both technical and sales roles," Porat told investors. Google remains committed to investing in search, machine learning and cloud, Porat added. In particular, she said Google continues to invest in marketing (including of its cloud services) and that the majority of marketing spending is "headcount related."
This matters, because as we've observed in the past, Google's client-facing cloud jobs are popular with people from banking. Various 'customer engineers' at Google in London and New York are drawn from the finance sector. Amish Naik, the former head of global algo iX sales strategy at BNP Paribas in New York, just joined Google Cloud as an 'enterprise account executive' (ie. a salesman) this month, for example.
If you're looking to escape finance for a sector with double digit percentage growth where a positive secular change is underway, selling cloud services might therefore be your exit strategy. Even better, the margins are huge: at Microsoft the commercial cloud cross margin increased by four percentage points in the first quarter, to over 67%. You're unlikely to find that anywhere in banking now.
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