The financial services industry is growing by a huge margin, and some financial firms are beginning to see the value in offering perks to employees that are already available to other employees.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of full-time employees at large banks and credit unions has doubled over the past decade, to around 10 million.
And that number is rising fast.
Bankers are increasingly giving away perks such as free haircuts, free dinners, free drinks, free haircare, free food and more, the Journal reported.
At the same time, banks are also offering perks that are typically only available to the top-paid employees, including free food, free vacations and free stock options, as well as paid vacation days and stock options.
The Journal reported that executives at many of these companies say they are seeing more and more employees take advantage of their perks, and that some companies are paying bonuses to employees.
“I see a lot of people that have come in who have been doing really well for years, who have earned huge salaries and they’re going to take advantage,” says Michael B. Smith, president of the American Bankers Association, a trade group that represents more than 200 major banks.
“But there’s this growing disconnect between the financial services sector and the rest of the economy.
There’s a lot that’s wrong with the system, but I think we’re starting to see more and better ways to bring people into it.”
For some firms, it’s a matter of timing.
The Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group for financial services firms, says it expects to be “making an impact” in the coming months.
And the Bankers Foundation, which has lobbied on behalf of financial firms, recently called on Congress to extend unemployment benefits for up to six months for unemployed workers.
“It’s not a question of whether or not we’re going for a bailout, it is a question that we have to do more and be a better partner,” says Jim B. Sholl, president and CEO of the banking lobby group.
Sholls says that in some cases, financial firms might offer incentives like vacation days or stock options that are not available to workers at other banks.
Shols says that the average pay of a bank’s top employees has been on the rise for a while.
The median salary at UBS Group AG in Zurich is around $200,000 a year.
And it was about $130,000 in 2013.
In 2015, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. announced it was going to pay its executives bonuses worth as much as $4 million.
At JPMorgan Chase & Co., the average executive salary was $275,000.
At Bank of America Corp., the median executive salary is $275.6 million.
Shanks says the banks are now giving employees more perks that will ultimately benefit them and their families.
“The banks have realized that there is a market for employees that aren’t necessarily going to have that same lifestyle that we’re doing and so they’re investing in those employees, and then they’re offering these benefits to those employees,” he says.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney recently said the financial sector is a growing part of the UK economy.
“As I look at the world, I see a world where we are going to see a greater reliance on financial services,” he said.
“That’s a really good business for the economy and for the financial system.”
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