Citigroup Now Paying Millennial Employees To Go Away For Awhile

Citi wants its junior bankers to be happy people with personal lives...What is even happening?
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If we've heard it once, we've heard it a thousand times: Millennials don't want to work in banking because banking is like boring and lame.

But banks need bankers, so the big guys have been falling over themselves to appeal to the narrow slice of the new generation that will forgo building their own tech startup and deign to work in finance. Goldman has actually acknowledged that junior bankers are human beings, JPMorgan is building perk-filled bunkers that trick bankers into thinking that they work somewhere fun, and BofA is promoting junior people faster thus affording them the opportunity to leave BofA.

Fittingly, Citigroup has been a bit behind the curve on this trend. But, according to WSJ, Corbat and Co. are getting in big on the whole "work to live" Millennial lifestyle deal...

The bank on Wednesday plans to unveil new programs meant to appeal to younger workers, including faster paths to promotion and the chance to take a year off to do charitable work. Citigroup is also introducing a program that lets young employees work on a four-week microfinance project in Kenya.
It’s all meant to recruit—and keep—young talent increasingly skeptical of Wall Street and eager to land a job in the technology sector. ​

Per the WSJ report, Citi is paying incoming bankers 60% of their salary to take a year off and work at a non-profit. That's a pretty major culture shift for the same bank that bars trading interns from pee breaks, and for how Wall Street treats junior bankers in general.

And listen to usually terse CEO Michael Corbat sell this thing...

“I want people to have family lives, personal lives,” said Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat in an interview. “When I was a junior banker, it was a rite of passage in terms of how many hours you work. And I don’t think it’s how many hours you work. It’s how productive are you and how good are you.”

Attention, Millennial MBAs deciding between Silicon Valley and Wall Street: Mikey Corbat is your bro.

Bur will this kinder, gentler, humanistic approach work on this generation of emotionally spoiled young people?

“It will engage millennials,” said Stacy Stevens, president of recruiting firm Park Avenue Group. “But I still think it’s the nature of millennials to get bored and to move every two or three years.”

So...no?

“People continue to work outrageous hours,” said Ms. Stevens, the executive recruiter. “There’s still an element of paying your dues, and getting in from the ground floor up.”

Yeah, they're gonna hate that... Which means...

“There’s this thrill and excitement and risk-taking attraction,” which is pulling young bankers to technology companies, said Neil Sims, a managing partner for executive-search firm Boyden. “There’s little they can do to hold those people…if Silicon Valley comes courting.”

Maybe banks should pay their new employees 60% annual salary to work their first year at a failing tech company.

After all, it stands to reason that spending 100 hours a week going numb on financial modeling won't seem so bad after spending a few months in the mad court of Yahoo empress-for-life Marissa "Evita" Mayer.

Citigroup to Millennial Bankers: Take a Year Off [WSJ]

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