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Goldman Sachs clinches crown as Ideal Employer in global financial space

  • J. P. Morgan, Google, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock make up the remaining top five
  • Big increase in financial professionals eyeing a move to the tech sector

Goldman Sachs has been revealed as the top company in the world to work for by financial professionals, new research by eFinancialCareers, the leading careers site for financial professionals, shows. J.P. Morgan, who topped the eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer Report last year, came in at second place in this year’s annual rankings.

Global tech companies including Google and Amazon rose sharply in the rankings, as financial professionals increasingly find the tech sector to have attractive opportunities to grow their careers.

Companies in the UK also scored well on a variety of attributes ranked by financial professionals such as opportunities for promotion, positive organisational culture, and open and transparent communication. Overall financial performance and industry connections also shone through as key characteristics when considering an employer.

The report is the result of a survey of over 6,000 financial professionals globally, who were asked to name their top three companies to work for. More than 2,800 companies were named at least once. Respondents ranked 20 attributes for companies on a scale, with those scoring a six or seven deemed “important”. Financial professionals then rated their three ideal employers based on how strong they believed companies were in the important attributes.

Goldman Sachs scoops gold

The reason behind Goldman Sachs returning to the top of the eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer Report, the title they last held in 2016, is a mix of strong rewards and market leadership. It scored highest in the survey on competitive salaries (83%), the attribute financial professionals valued the most. This was followed by competitive bonuses (80%) and industry leadership (79%).

Edith Cooper, the company’s former global head of HR has said in an interview with eFinancialCareers that Goldman Sachs “recognise and pay for performance”, a key driver in the financial space. Gregg Lemkau, co-head of global Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs told eFinancialCareers, “The culture at Goldman is quite famously team-oriented and collaborative. As such, the work environment is very collegial.”

As the eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer Report shows, this mixture of reward and leadership across the board is hugely attractive for talent. Historically, Goldman Sachs received 223,849 applications for analyst positions in 2016, yet only 2% succeeded in landing a position, demonstrating the highly competitive market and lure of working at the top-rated company.

Tech takeover

Google held its overall global #3 ranking for a third year running, though for the first time was ranked a region-specific Ideal Employer in Asia-Pacific, beating Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan (ranked #1 and #2 by US and UK markets).

Unlike the rest of the global and UK top five, Google kept its own by scoring high on attributes such as innovation and office environment. Beating the likes of UBS, HSBC and Morgan Stanley, it proves that even in the financial sector, a company’s culture is starting to become as important as monetary gain to professionals in the financial space.

Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft also appeared in the top 30, a hugely-positive showing in what is typically a finance company-led ranking. Amazon rose 12 places, the biggest increase in the report, reflecting a positive perception of the employer brand. As one financial professional said, “At Amazon, opportunities to move, grow and take on new challenges are abundant. A dynamic environment — where there is no shortage of interesting problems to solve or opportunities to build. Amazon encourages employees to create their own career paths, and they have great flexibility to move between departments and roles.” The sentiment echoes overall thesis of the Ideal Employer report, which finds there are plenty more attractive attributes than pay among financial professionals.

These point towards a shift in desirable attributes for job roles across the finance sector, and that in order to continue competing with the tech sector for the best talent, employers in financial services will need to move away from solely promoting competitive salaries and bonuses as their recruitment drivers.

Finance is not always just money

Although three out of the top five companies were rated highest by competitive salary, other elements of work life are considered when choosing an ideal employer.

John Benson, Founder of eFinancialCareers, said; “Our 2018 Ideal Employer Report has proven that financial professionals across the globe are equally enticed by salary and challenging projects. In most regions, employees put challenging and interesting work as important factors when contemplating which employer to work for, a sign of exciting times ahead and better opportunities for financial professionals should companies listen to candidates and take action implementing these desires in the workplace.”

“This report shows that the sector needs to change their approach when promoting their employer brand and culture whilst advertising open positions. In order to attract and retain the best talent, the game plan can’t just be around money. There needs to be an added focus on organizational culture and the work itself. The tech industry has been ahead on this for a while now and seeing the likes of Google and Amazon challenging the financial giants to attract smart financial professionals shows that financial institutions need to adapt to attract or retain the best talent.”