Young Talent Isn’t Following the Money to Wall Street: Marcus Ashworth

Deutsche Bank AG is the latest investment bank dangling a juicier carrot at prospective first-year analysts. An extra $10,000 sounds nice but, unfortunately, Wall Street is just appealing to individuals focused on short-term compensation — the kind who won’t hang around long anyway. The banks are going to have to up their game to attract and retain talent. And it’s not all about money.

“There is no substitute for hard work” has long been the industry mantra. But those first few years are brutal. There is now a number for how much toil is required to reach "base-level mastery" at an investment bank: The golden ticket to elite level is 10,000 hours or roughly three years worth of 72-hour weeks, according to Mary Erdoes, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset and wealth management business.

That’s not going to lure the cohort that banks are courting. A July 16 survey of 16-24-year olds’ mental health from Aviva PLC, the British insurer and wealth manager, showed that not only was this age group the most affected by the pandemic but it has also made 47% of those employed less career-oriented. Nor is the option of then going off to spend more time and money getting an MBA or CFA or both. College students know the real action no longer lies in a dealing room but in a start-up or in a major tech firm. Those may involve long hours too but they also have flexibility — along with a potential shortcut to untold riches, maybe even going into space.