Posted by Robert Half Technology on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 00:00 | Follow me
Business grads and MBAs are choosing technology jobs at record rates, even forgoing opportunities at elite Wall Street firms. The trend marks a dramatic shift at top universities, with tech firms out-recruiting financial services for the very first time.
The Wall Street Journal highlights the Stanford Graduate School of Business as a prime example of the shift in industry recruiting power. Technology jobs have long held second place with regard to Wall Street and the financial sector. Just two years ago, 13 percent of the class opted for tech jobs versus 36 percent choosing the financial sector. This year, 32 percent went for technology over 26 percent heading for finance, with IT jobs dominating for the very first time.
Why Technology Jobs Are Winning the Recruiting Race
Kevin Roose, writer at New York Magazine, provides insight into the recruiting war for business grads. The following five points are gleaned from his research:
- The Segway Factor: Think about it: If you’re just out of college would you prefer dry-cleaned suits and conservative environments, or Segways, slides between floors and lunchtime volleyball? The job culture at some top Silicon Valley firms is a big selling point.
- Evolving Salaries: While banking analysts at top firms still out-earn most people, salaries in the tech sector are on the rise, as evidenced in the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide. There is also the possibility of high returns with a tech start-up firm, even if this path involves a much higher risk of failure than an investment banking career.
- Public Ethics: Since 2008, some Wall Street firms have been tarnished by questionable business practices. Though some tech firms have been in the news over privacy issues, there is no stigma that would amount to a moral choice on the part of the candidate.
- Recruiting Strategy: Even powerhouse financial firms tend to stick to traditional recruiting events where videos are shown and employees are presented who speak highly of the company. This approach might work for those already set on a business career, but not for a candidate still on the fence. In contrast, Google has been known to hand out free pizza during finals week, sponsor programming contests, and now has a Will Ferrell movie based on its internship program. (Here’s more information on evaluating technology job perks.)
- Millennial-Friendly: Though the topic of millennials has been discussed ad nauseam, it is worth noting that this employee group tends to value things like flexible work hours and timely feedback/praise over higher salaries. Tech companies also win hands-down in this category over the financial sector.
Technology Jobs: The Road More Traveled
One other influence that deserves a mention is the rise of the IT business analyst. In this reverse case, IT departments are seeking candidates who have a solid background in business management issues.
I, for one, took a banking job out of college, and then began a journey toward a technology-focused career. Little did I know that so many business grads would take the same path toward technology jobs from the get-go.