Finance Talents are Opting out of Wall Street

Global Business

It’s been five years since the Great Recession ended, and while banks have picked up the pieces, Wall Street is no longer the career destination it once was. From veteran bankers to recent grads, an increasing crop of finance talent is opting for careers far away from this field. CCTV’s Liling Tan looks into what’s driving the brain drain.

Finance Talents are Opting out of Wall Street

Finance Talents are Opting out of Wall Street

It's been five years since the Great Recession ended, and while banks have picked up the pieces, Wall Street is no longer the career destination it once was. From veteran bankers to recent grads, an increasing crop of finance talent is opting for careers far away from this field. CCTV’s Liling Tan looks into what's driving the brain drain.
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Wall Street, where bankers toil for long hours in pursuit of millions — even billions — of dollars, and where droves of top university students historically aspired to work.

But since the recession of 2007, America’s banking sector has come under attack for its greed and excess. Wall Street has lost some of its luster.

Craig Anzalone, Director of Client Services & Executive Search, Professionals for NonProfits, worked for 20 years at a big bank before deciding a year ago that enough was enough. He says: “The environment changed a lot. Some of the things that I experienced during that period of time didn’t feel good. I wanted to feel that I had impact in a way that mattered to me.”

Craig went to Professionals for Nonprofits seeking career change and was promptly snapped up by the agency instead.

Gayle Brandel, CEO, Professionals for NonProfits, hired him. She says about one of five jobseekers who now approach her recruiting firm are from a finance background, compared with just 1 out of 25 before the recession. And the bulk of these jobseekers, she says, are recent university graduates.

“Many of the people that graduated from school that would have ordinarily gone to Wall Street have decided for various reasons — whether they could not get a job or whether that they decided they wanted to find something more meaningful in their lives — they have started coming into the nonprofit sector.” Gayle Brandel says.

Another area attracting young financial talent is the technology sector, known to be where new and big things happen. Open work spaces and a cutting edge vibe give it bonus points.

Elisabetta Bartoloni, Consultant, Heidrick & Struggles, who recruits executives for the financial sector, says many young graduates aren’t willing to put in the grueling hours a finance career often requires. She says: “They’re looking for flexibility in terms of hours, in terms of working from home or working at work working, clearly, in the office. They’re looking for work-life balance. So working on the weekends, having to be in the office over the weekends, those are becoming more of something that people think about in the way they think about their careers.”

Wall Street is aware of this changing dynamic and some financial firms including Goldman Sachs have put in place limits on hours to retain and attract staff.

But for many young talents, especially those who identified with the protestors camping out here at Zucotti Park in the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement, making a difference will be the perk that really matters.