I came across a great article in the New York Times talking about how smart young professionals who work on Wall Street have got a raw deal since the outbreak of market turmoil in 2007/8
Being young on Wall Street once meant having it all: style, smarts and too much money to spend wisely. Now, twenty-somethings in the finance industry are losing both cash and cachet.
Three years after the global financial crisis nearly brought Wall Street firms to the brink, the nation’s largest banks are again struggling. As profits wane, layoffs have claimed thousands of jobs and those still employed have watched their compensation shrink. These problems are set against the morale-crushing backdrop of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has made a villain of a once-lionized industry.
Much of the burden of Wall Street’s latest retrenchment has fallen on young financiers. The number of investment bank and brokerage firm employees between the ages 20 and 34 fell by 25 percent from the third quarter of 2008 to the same period of 2011, a loss of 110,000 jobs from layoffs, attrition and voluntary departures.
These lay offs are caused by the share price fluctuations of many companies as senior magament seek to cut costs as profits fall away. It is not uncommon for people to be hired one week, layed off the next and rehired a few weeks later somewhere else. Although this article focused on the finance sector, much the same can be said for other professional servives firms globally. It is how smart young professionals see the world these days that has changed.
“I did everything right. I came into work every day, I put in long hours, and I still got punched in the face,” Mr. Ferdman said. “People shouldn’t want to work in this industry anymore.”
The short-termism of many major professional services firms has shown many companies to treat their staff, particularly younger staff below Director level, as commodities. This is a major ethical flaw in the profit maximising outlook of many corporate Executives.
I too have felt the feelings of dispair, anger and disillusionment. It’s got me wondering what the long term impact of such strategies will be. It wouldn’t surprise me if this only strengthens Gen Y’s apathy for job loyalty and pushes more and more smart people away from Big Business and towards entrepreneurship.
Full NYT article