It’s not cool to be a techie on Wall Street. Or at least not as cool as it used to be.
That was the indictment handed out during the CIO roundtable at TabbFORUM’s MarketTech 2012 event on June 5. There were gloomy tales from both the roundtable and from a headhunter in the audience of the inability to attract top tech talent despite the economic environment.
Wall Street has entered the slow lane of cool development and the smart talent (young and old) is headed for the faster-paced lanes of Google and Amazon. The average age of the database administrator is increasing every year as legacy systems require legacy knowledge of now outdated languages and processes. These systems are hard to replace as they are so central to the working of the organization and few organizations currently have the appetite to tackle the big iron head on. Meanwhile, that new iPad application from your broker that you downloaded this morning was probably coded by an intern who’s still learning to drive.
For a company in financial services, the inability to innovate and turn efficiently on a dime is shortening the line of talent at the front door. IPads, smartphones, Facebook and Wikipedia point to a world of users who are collaborative, international, mobile, tech-savvy and downright impatient. The way that organizations manage their intelligence, projects and resources needs to reflect this environment. No company wants a reputation as a sluggish place to work; the result is it becomes more expensive to attract and retain great people, losing out to the funkier working environments of Silicon Valley. And as Silicon Valley companies open up on the East Coast, the threat to Wall Street is no longer at arm’s length.