How the West Coast tech boom is reshaping Wall Street

Finding themselves competing for talent, investment banks relax expectations for young workers.

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Finding themselves competing with West Coast startups for talent, investment banks are relaxing expectations for young workers.

Companies are finding that it is imperative to loosen their requirements in able to retain top talent, the New York Times reports.

Most top Wall Street firms have sought to change their work policies for young investment bankers in recent years, in part to combat some of the problems and because they are increasingly in heated competition with Silicon Valley for top talent and are seeking to make themselves more attractive. Goldman, for example, has required that analysts take Saturdays off. Credit Suisse, too, has made employees take Saturdays off, with employees instructed to avoid even email. Bank of America has instituted a policy that requires analysts to “take four days off a month” on the weekends. And JPMorgan Chase has said that one weekend a month should be protected.

Compounding the problem is a rash of suicides in the Wall Street-based business.

Studies have suggested that financial service employees are at higher risk than those in many other industries. According to the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance, individuals who work in financial services are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the national average. The highest suicide rates in the United States are among doctors, dentists and veterinarians. It is possible that the finance industry attracts more people with depression, just as it is possible that the pressure-cooker work environment overwhelms some people who have been high achievers their entire lives. It could be a tragic combination of multiple factors. Wall Street has always thrived, in part, on its eat-or-be-eaten culture. Would curbing its competitive nature cut into its success?

Closer to home in Oregon, a Eugene-to-San Jose daily flight offering should expand opportunities for businesses in the Willamette Valley.

The Register-Guard reports:

“This is a big destination for the … community,” Eugene Airport Director Tim Doll said. “It ties two high-tech communities together.”

Alaska’s move puts it in direct competition with United Airlines for the busy route between Eugene and the San Francisco Bay Area. United is currently the only daily carrier on that route, offering multiple flights a day to San Francisco International Airport, which lies about 25 miles north of the San Jose airport. Eugene business executives hope the competition will bring down ticket prices.

The Horizon Airlines flight will begin service in November.