Wall Street Tells New High School Graduates to Pick Tech Career Over Finance


Jo Constantz, Bloomberg News

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    , Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) — Parents of today’s kindergarteners should think about prodding them toward a career in the medical field.

Those are the findings of the latest MLIV Pulse survey with 678 respondents. Nearly 40% said that children currently in elementary school will be best off with a job in health care if they want to avoid being displaced by artificial intelligence. Jobs in the medical fields often involve much more human-to-human interaction, which for now seem hard to replace with generative AI programs like ChatGPT.

Demographic trends may also be supporting the idea that becoming a doctor or a nurse will be a wiser choice for the youngest generation: Economists forecast massive demand for health-care workers as the population ages in the US and around the world.

Investors have a different recommendation for those graduating from high school. Those students will be best off pursuing a career in tech, despite recent layoffs at Meta Platforms Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Tech savvy is seen as ever more important in a world increasingly influenced by digital platforms, even as some worry AI may pose a threat to some entry level jobs.

“The highest paying jobs were so clearly in the finance sector for two or three decades, and now tech is really competitive with that — they’re kind of neck and neck,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of human-resources consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Even with the rise of AI he expects tech and finance to remain among the most lucrative careers for the next 20 or 30 years. “I don’t see that going away,” he said.

Some 52% of 556 professional investors said that technology is the way to go for high school students. Among 122 retail investors, 48% voted for tech. Read full survey results here.

Recent hiring trends support the results. While the current downturn has hit both Big Tech and Silicon Valley startups hard, recruiters in traditional industries — from automakers to the federal government — have rushed to snap up laid-off tech talent and new grads. These days, every company is a tech company, as the saying goes.

Part of the perception that the grass is greener in Silicon Valley may also stem from the way that tech has transformed the inner workings of Wall Street. “There are lots of people that have brilliant financial minds, and yet they can’t put into effect a trading strategy without relying on serious programmers to come in and actually implement it because it’s moved past human beings in some ways,” Challenger said. “I can see why they feel that threat.”

As for the potential impact of AI on Wall Street, only 12% said finance would be the best career option for today’s kindergarteners. While a previous MLIV Pulse survey found that most finance professionals were confident AI won’t replace them in the next three years, that confidence appears to falter over a longer time horizon.

A recent Goldman Sachs Group Inc. report estimated that some 300 million full-time jobs worldwide may soon be affected by AI automation.

Significant layoffs as UBS Group AG absorbs Credit Suisse Group AG, combined with earlier job-cut announcements from Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs likely made the respondents lukewarm about careers in finance. The KBW Bank Index is down about 18% year-to-date compared to the S&P 500 up over 7%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 is up about 20%.

First-quarter bank earnings kicked off Friday as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. reeled in windfalls from higher interest rates that upended smaller lenders last month. But even the big lenders signaled caution, including on the hiring front. While JPMorgan hired more people, the bank plans to keep headcount flat over the rest of the year and expressed caution regarding more buybacks.

Most survey respondents said an undergraduate degree is still worthwhile, despite the considerable investment of time and money. Still, some suggested that going to trade school to become a carpenter, electrician or plumber, jobs which can’t be easily outsourced or automated, might be a path worth pursuing.

MLIV Pulse is a weekly survey of Bloomberg News readers, conducted by Bloomberg’s Markets Live team, which also runs a 24/7 MLIV Blog on the terminal. To subscribe to MLIV Pulse stories, click here.

This week, Bloomberg macro strategists Cameron Crise and Simon Flint ask in the MLIV Pulse survey where the fed funds rate will be at the end of the next easing cycle. Click here to share your views.

–With assistance from Heather Burke.
Source: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/wall-street-tells-new-high-school-graduates-to-pick-tech-career-over-finance-1.1908373?fbclid=IwAR0uaXXw_074K0PDz3YDEqFoG7pemqb0WMMX_CxJrzLHyEDA9LU4w9k03uc