Would you still work long hours in an investment bank if you could comfortably earn a multiple six figure salary doing something entirely different? By standing in a laboratory and peering down a microscope, for example?
It's a question worth asking, because it transpires that there are other companies where the median wage is as high as might be expected in leading banks (in fact it's higher).
The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation into the companies with the highest median wages in the S&P 500. It found that more than 100 S&P 500 companies routinely pay more than $100k and that they're mostly clustered in the energy industry (think oil and gas drillers, oil refiners and electricity companies). However, pharmaceutical companies pay some of the highest median wages of the lot.
Take Incyte Corp., CelgeneCorp. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which are developing drugs to fight everything from cancer to psoriasis. The WSJ points out that their median earners made $253,000, $213,000 and $211,500, respectively last year. By comparison, the median wage at Goldman Sachs, which came in 46th, behind the likes of Callon Petroloeum ($155), Host Hotels ($197k), and Netflix ($183k), was just $135k for 2017.
Finance just doesn't pay that well when you're average, and Goldman Sachs doesn't pay that well within finance - Greenhill pays its median employee more ($180k), as does Renaissance Reinsurance ($213k).
Of course, if you're already committed to and trained-up for a career in financial services, your chances of skipping into a job developing a cure for cancer will be limited - unless it's in the corporate development department of a pharmaceutical company. Nor is there any guarantee that working in a non-finance job would be less onerous than finance.- Working on an oil rig would almost certainly be more so.
Nonetheless, if you're a student wondering which career to choose, the WSJ's research is a reminder that finance doesn't have the monopoly on high pay. It also helps explain the lure of the technology industry: Google's parent, Alphabet, pays a median of $197k; Facebook pays over $200k. - Not bad when you also get free food and a chance to bask in the glory of working in the tech sector.
Separately, the Financial Times has conducted some research into the top hedge fund launches of the year. If you aspire to join a fund in 2018, it offers a useful pointer on the funds to watch out for.
They include: ExodusPoint, a new $8bn fund from Michael Gelband, a former fixed-income trader at Millennium Management, which is due to start trading next month; Kirkoswald Capital, the new $2bn fund from ex-co-CIO at Moore Capital, Greg Coffeey; and D1 Capital, a new $4bn fund from Daniel Sundheim, the ex-chief investment officer at Viking Capital. Kirkoswald and D1 are due to launch later in 2018.
Failing this, there's also Point72, Steve Cohen's ex-family office, which has attracted $3bn in outside investment since welcoming outside money late last year.
110,000 students applied for 619 jobs at Deutsche Bank this year. 60,671 applied for 575 at Citi. 100,000 applied for 1,000 internships at Morgan Stanley. (Financial Times)
Bill Winters says the future of Standard Chartered is "not in Canary Wharf" (with Barclays). (Financial Times)
HSBC is ready to hire Deutsche Bank's discarded equities staff in Asia. (Bloomberg)
Deutsche Bank started firing equities staff in Australia. (Australian Financial Review)
Deutsche Bank has a 28 year-old "innovation specialist" scouting fintech investment opportunities. (Business Insider)
Between 2016 and 2018, there were 8,472 applications to the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for “approved person” status from women, compared to 38,493 from men. (Financial Times)
Barclays hired a new head of US equities from Nomura. (Reuters)
Let Toshiba's neglect of its top engineer Fujio Masuoka be a warning to banks who would overlook key staff. (Nikkei Asian Review)
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