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Wall Street Titans Compete for Top AI Talent: Intense Rivalry Sparks Talent Poaching

Last Updated December 2, 2023 1:12 PM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated December 2, 2023 1:12 PM

Key Takeaways

  • The competition for top AI talent is intensifying as banks recognize the transformative potential of artificial intelligence.
  • Banks are offering lucrative packages to attract and retain skilled AI professionals. 
  • Goldman Sachs has lost more than 100 staffers in the AI sector.
  • But Wall Street is embracing more and more AI tools to improve financial performances and cut costs.

In the fierce battle for artificial intelligence (AI) talent, traditional financial institutions like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been losing ground to tech-focused companies that have long recognized the transformative potential of AI.

However, a recent shift is underway, as even non-tech companies are waking up to the power of AI and are actively seeking out skilled AI engineers. This surge in demand for AI talent across industries is fueled by massive investments and a growing realization that AI is not just a futuristic concept but a driving force behind innovation and success in today’s competitive landscape.

Goldman Lost 100 AI Staffers To Rivals

Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs has experienced a net outflow of 60 AI talent to rivals such as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. in the 12 months through September, according to data compiled by the consultancy Evident .

This represents the largest talent exodus among its major competitors. Bank of America, with a net loss of 55 AI staffers, ranks second in terms of talent departure, while Wells Fargo & Co. stands out as the exception, having gained a net of 130 AI personnel.

Changes in AI staffers
Changes in AI staffers

Goldman Sachs lost 106 AI experts, a relatively small number compared to its global workforce of nearly 46,000 employees. Despite this, the bank is dedicated to attracting top AI talent and has invested significantly in this area.

Bing Xiang, a former Amazon researcher, recently joined as the managing director and head of AI research within engineering.

The intense competition for AI talent reflects the growing recognition of its importance across industries. As businesses increasingly embrace AI to drive innovation and gain a competitive edge, the demand for skilled AI professionals is skyrocketing. This talent war is likely to intensify in the coming years as AI continues to revolutionize various sectors.

It’s Not Just A Salary Matter

“It’s not just about hiring people, but nurturing and retaining them,” Alexandra Mousavizadeh, Evident’s Chief Executive Officer, told Bloomberg . “They have a lot of other places to go.”

AI Is Here To Stay

Citigroup has experienced a surge in AI talent acquisition, adding 189 AI-focused staffers in recent months. However, this growth has been accompanied by a notable outflow, with 196 AI employees departing to rivals.

This data, compiled by consultancy Evident, highlights the intensifying competition for AI talent among major banks.

“If you’re a bank and don’t have an AI strategy, then you don’t have a strategy,” remarked Mike Mayo, an analyst at Wells Fargo , during an interview with Bloomberg Television. “AI is here to stay.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co., a leader in AI adoption among banks, currently holds the top spot in Evident’s AI Index.

The bank has thousands of open positions in AI-related fields, and CEO Jamie Dimon has expressed his belief that AI will pave the way for a shorter workweek, potentially reducing it to just 3.5 days.

Despite losing 224 AI-focused staffers in recent months, JPMorgan has managed to maintain its AI edge by adding 325 new AI personnel during the same period. This net gain positions JPMorgan as one of the top recruiters of AI talent among its peers, according to Evident’s data.

“We are proud that our AI talent, insights, and solutions were once again recognized,” stated Teresa Heitsenrether, JPMorgan’s chief data and analytics officer. “We are committed to continuing to invest in these capabilities.”

The ongoing AI talent war underscores the growing importance of AI in the banking industry. As AI continues to revolutionize various aspects of financial operations, banks are prioritizing AI talent acquisition to stay ahead of the competition.

AI Helps To Cut Costs

Wall Street banks are constantly seeking ways to optimize their operations and reduce costs. Artificial intelligence has emerged as a powerful tool in achieving this goal, transforming various aspects of banking operations and streamlining processes to enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

One of the most significant benefits of AI in the banking industry is its ability to automate repetitive tasks.

AI-powered systems can handle mundane and time-consuming tasks such as data entry, compliance checks, and transaction processing. This can free up human employees to focus on more complex and strategic work. This automation not only reduces labor costs but also improves accuracy and consistency, minimizing the risk of human error.

AI is also revolutionizing risk management practices in Wall Street banks. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and potential risks that may be overlooked by traditional methods.

This enhanced risk assessment capability enables banks to make more informed decisions, mitigate potential losses, and optimize their risk profile.

Several Wall Street banks have already implemented AI solutions to achieve significant cost savings. For instance, JPMorgan Chase has deployed AI to automate its trade reconciliation process, saving an estimated $100 million annually. Similarly, Bank of America has utilized AI to streamline its customer service operations, reducing costs by $150 million per year.

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