Why does Talent fly out of Investment Banking?

Economic recovery may be gaining momentum, but major investment banks not out of the water yet. Attracting and retaining talent has becoming an increasingly difficult challenge for business leaders throughout Europe. Merrill Lynch co-director Diego de Giorgi recalls a time when finance degrees automatically meant graduates would either choose a career in banking or consulting. Today, students have more choices and less interest in traditional investment banking careers.

Over the past two decades, growing technology companies and industry giants like Google and Microsoft have an advantage over the banking and investment industries. Modern graduates see the trends toward online banking and self-service financial companies and are choosing another career option altogether. Technology, leadership, and organizational management roles now represent some of the most sought after career fields for top graduates.

The popular career path and loss of talent in the investment banking genre does not sit well with Diego de Giorgi, who has made his concerns about losing skilled talent a very public matter. When he addressed the London School of Economics Investment Banking Conference recently, de Giorgi stressed the importance of investing in people and working harder to recruit and retain human resources in the future.

As senior leaders are nearing retirement or being promoted into different roles, the vacancies are becoming increasingly more difficult to fill. The trickle down effect is proving to be an overwhelming obstacle, and unfilled positions have strained leaders searching for answers and more innovate approaches. Experienced bankers confirm that the attrition rate is outpacing most other industries and will soon become a hindrance to many service organizations within the banking industry.

The most appealing option available seems to be hiring from a different perspective. If finance and economics majors are uninterested, liberal arts graduates may be willing to transfer their skill sets into the world of investment banking. The influx of new talent may provide the creativity and new structure that would shake up the industry and begin to stir up a renewed interest in the field.

Adding diversity to the investment banking workforce may seem like a tentative tactical plan but will serve to basic purposes for the immediate future. First, the priority experiment will allow key roles to be filled so business does not suffer. Second, newcomers into the field will bring a fresh perspective to the industry that traditional finance graduates may not be able to offer.

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