As the Occupy movement perseveres and Google's stock price continues to skyrocket, it's no surprise that American youth don't want to work at investment banks. Citing a survey of 6,700 early-career professionals, The Wall Street Journal reports that nearly one-in-five young workers want a job at Google, making it the most popular potential employer by far. Apple and Facebook rank second and third drawing enthusiasm from 12.7 and 8.9 percent of those surveyed, respectively. You have to scroll down the list of results quite a bit before seeing the top-ranking bank, J.P. Morgan, at number 41. Attracting barely 2 percent of the young work force, Goldman Sachs ranks 46th on the list, right behind Macy's. Does the trend towards tech mean we're on track to reclaim integrity and stability in the American economy? Not so fast.
Ironically, previous studies suggest that the waning enthusiasm is a bad sign for the economy. More young people gravitate towards the high-risk-high-reward banking jobs during economic boom periods, but busts tend to follow those booms. For years, consultant Ray Soifer has been tracking the correlation between Harvard Business School graduates who take "market-sensitive jobs" at investment banks and hedge funds after graduation and the overall performance of the economy. As Businessweek explains, the percentage serves as a reverse economic indicator:
The percentage of Harvard MBAs entering market-sensitive jobs peaked at 41 percent in 2008, the year the Lehman Brothers collapse ushered in the financial crisis and the Great Recession. … So Soifer may have a good reason for believing that Harvard MBAs tend to have impeccable timing when it comes to jumping aboard sinking ships.
This year the number is back up to 38 percent, and if the Harvard MBA trend can be extrapolated to account for the rest of the young generation, we're led to believe that the bottom could drop out of the economy at any moment. Since the latest numbers suggest that young people want to work for tech companies don't match up with the trend of HBS graduates taking banking jobs, however, we're not sure it does.