Goldman Sachs just released its annual letter to shareholders, in which it bragged about receiving 270,000 job applications last year for 8,300 positions, translating into a 3% acceptance rate.
While that rate makes Goldman more selective than top US universities like Harvard and Yale, the odds of getting a job at the vaunted investment bank are still a lot higher than at big tech companies like Google, which hires only 7,000 out of 3 million yearly applicants.
Of course, we’re comparing two different industries with vastly different needs for talent. But the discrepancy highlights the intensifying fight for top talent between Wall Street and Silicon Valley, the latter of which has been snapping up some of the most sought-after executives and bright college graduates.
Only about 10% of undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went into finance in 2013, compared with the 31% that took jobs on Wall Street in 2006, according to a March New York Times article about how Ruth Porat, Wall Street’s most powerful woman, was leaving her post as chief financial officer of Morgan Stanley to join Google.
In part, the talent slowdown is a result of how boring banks have become—a point Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein hammered home in his letter with a series of charts showing how the bank has shed risky assets and leverage, and increased the capital it holds on its balance sheet. It all makes for a safer business, but also limits the upside.
Seven years after the global financial crisis began, banks are still constrained by a boatload of bruised businesses and regulation. For Goldman, that’s meant flat-lined revenue and, more importantly for potential new hires, compensation levels that haven’t increased in years.
But that didn’t seem to stop Blankfein himself from becoming the highest-paid CEO among his peers at the biggest US banks for the third consecutive year.
Blankfein’s total pay package rose 7% last year to $31 million, compared with the $22.5 million in total compensation for Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and $20 million for JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.