This article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.
Banks may be opening up innovation labs, pouring millions into artificial intelligence (A.I.) and cloud computing, and even relaxing their dress codes to attract more developers, but technology companies are still becoming increasingly attractive destinations for financial services professionals.
The 10 employers in the table below secured more votes than any other technology firms in the eFinancialCareers 2018 Ideal Employer survey, which asked more than 6,000 finance professionals globally which companies they would like to work for.
Moreover, the five most popular tech giants – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft – also feature in the top-30 of our overall Ideal Employer ranking, which pits them against major financial institutions. In a sign that people currently working in financial services are keen on moving to the technology sector (and not just to small start-ups), Google came in third over place overall as an ideal employer, beating all the big banks with the exception of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.
But why, exactly, do any tech firms appear within rankings which poll finance professionals? They owe some of their success to their reputation for offering funky workplaces and generous benefits (and banks’ inability to match them on these fronts), according to our survey, which also asked respondents to name the perceived strengths of their preferred employers.
Of the people who voted for Google as an ideal employer, for example, 82 percent believe that its ‘office environment’ is a strength. Goldman Sachs, by contrast, could only muster 43 percent, despite its recent effort in San Francisco to mimic start-up surroundings and let developers wear jeans and sneakers to work.
Google is expanding in major finance centers, not just in Silicon Valley. Its new London office, which is currently under construction, will boast a swimming pool, massage rooms and a rooftop garden, equipped with woodland-walk and wild-flower areas.
Finance professionals also believe that tech companies offer great company perks – 73 percent of Facebook voters gave its perks the thumbs up, for example. They may have heard of the free meals on offer at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, or its onsite dentists, dry-cleaners and barbers. ‘Flexible working options’ and ‘organizational culture’ are also perceived as strengths for most of the leading tech companies, according to our survey.
Do finance professionals unrealistically view tech firms as providers of fantasy workplaces and refuges from the straitjacket world of banking? Perhaps, but the likes of Google scored well across a range of less frivolous categories, too. Of those who voted for Apple, 81 percent think it provides ‘challenging and interesting work’, while Amazon voters ranked their ideal employer highly as an ‘industry innovator’ (79 percent) and ‘established industry leader’ (78 percent).
Meanwhile, as investment banking CEOs continue to cut headcount and restructure their global operations, finance professionals appear to have more faith in the business strategies of the tech firms. Apple, the largest technology company in the world, scores 78 percent for its ‘financial performance’.
Amazon, along with new top-10 entrants Tesla and Alibaba, presumably helped by the growing celebrity status of their charismatic CEOs, are the best-perceived tech firms for having ‘strong executive leadership’. They also outperform all the banks in our survey under this category. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have started their own space race, while Alibaba founder Jack Mahas become the de facto frontman for Chinese business globally.
Worryingly for banks’ ability to use money – their traditional weapon – to attract and retain talent, technology firms are perceived to be generous when it comes to compensation. Three-quarters (75 percent) of Google voters think it offers ‘competitive salaries’ – a higher percentage than all the banks in our survey apart from Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.