In a few short months, the next crop of college grads will enter the workforce and this year more than ever, many a bright young thing who would potentially be attracted to a job in the financial industry will be lured out West to a “name-brand organization” like Google or Facebook, that their parents’ friends will be easily impressed by and perhaps even believe is worth a trillion dollars. While Wall Street firms, even the mid-sized ones, can generally pay more up front, talent is being wooed by options, “the luster of working for the cutting-edge social-networking or Web-search firms,” better hours and other perks, forcing hedge funds et al to step up their games.
Take Chicago-based Chopper Trading. According to Chief Executive Raj Fernando, the firm has “virtually no turnover” because employees are “well taken care of” and given many a reason “not to go anywhere else.” Those reasons include the tickets to sporting events, “organized paintball trips,” a pup-friendly office and the ability to play shuffleboard, Ping-Pong, pool, and video games in the 3,000-square-foot game and exercise room.
And while the shops with the most serious competition from Silicon Valley are mostly high-frequency trading and electronic market-making firms in need of computer programmers and software engineers (“geeks” to the layman, as the Journal puts it), thanks to Facebook’s trillion dollar valuation 13-figure valuation and Groupon’s promise of competitive discounts on grooming services, the issue could spill over to start affecting those in more traditional banking and trading gigs. So Goldman and Tudor and SAC etc are prepared, it’s probably wise to start coming up with some deal-sweeteners now.
Remember, big money supposedly isn’t enough for this new breed, who is apparently mostly drawn in by the lure of activities that make coming in feel less like a place of business and more like a dorm room/camp/carnival. Everyone’s got the standard Ping-Pong, pool, Wii stuff, so think along those lines but bigger, better, more outside the box. Like:
- a bouncy castle in the parking lot every Wednesday afternoon
- in-house magicians (David Blaine comes to mind)
- midget masseurs
- a trading-floor adjacent room devoted entirely to Dungeons & Dragons
- topless palm readers
And so on and so forth.