Fewer College Graduates Seeking Wall Street Careers
It’s about time. This trend won’t show any immediate results, but ultimately this can only be a good thing.
There have been countless articles describing America’s brain drain. Until a few years ago, the best and brightest would gravitate to a career in science, medicine, inventing something, building something, providing a service. In a word, something useful.
There have been other articles warning us that when the financial sector — i.e. playing with other people’s money — has become a country’s largest industry, it’s a screaming red flag for that country.
And now — finally! — this dangerous trend is reversing. This has been simmering for awhile, but it came to a boil with the recent New York Times column by Greg Smith, formerly of Goldman Sachs. His public resignation letter / op-ed piece included: “I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.”
As Kevin Roose writes in the linked article:
“College students who were once attracted to prestigious banks like moths to bonfires are increasingly turning to other industries in search of success.”
An anthropology professor who has studied the Wall Street culture said:
“Everything from Occupy Wall Street to larger critical discourses of ‘fat cats,’ all of that has had some trickle-down effect to young people.”
At this year’s SXSW in Austin, there was a panel titled “Keeping Kids off the Street: Wall St. vs. Start-ups.”
In 2008 — before the Wall Street meltdown — 28% of Harvard’s graduating class went into finance. Last year that number fell to 17%.
This sentiment was articulated by a business student at the University of Texas at Austin:
“I have no interest in working at Goldman. I want to build something. I don’t want to be working in an industry that effectively leeches off other industries. It’s not creative enough for me.”
Perhaps the most telling of all: In a survey of 6,700 young professionals, respondents ranked Google, Apple and Facebook as the companies they’d most like to work for. The highest-ranking bank — JPMorgan Chase — came in at #41.
Crash and burn, Motherfuckers.