JPMorgan is Luring Developers Working on Video Games

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As Wall Street banks keep on competing with Silicon Valley start-ups and tech giants, JPMorgan steals employees from the gaming industry

SILICON VALLEY – The competition between Wall Street banks and companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook when it comes to top talent is real and on the rise.

JPMorgan is a good example, as it’s having no trouble at all when it comes to recruiting engineers and developers to build its ambitions.

Gordon Smith, co-president and consumer banking chief at JPMorgan said that the bank “honestly had no problems attracting that talent at all. It’s actually been very exciting,” during a financial conference that took place this Tuesday.

He also noted that a few years ago, banks had hardly any mobile or digital developers in Manhattan, but that they have now grown to house roughly 1,500.

He also said that he discovered that a number of the developers have actually left careers developing video games in order to join JPMorgan.

However, the following question popped in people’s mind: how are they luring away techs from a fun industry, working on hit games such as Fortnite to work on mobile-banking products?

Smith had an answer for it: “It’s actually been very easy,” he told Erika Najarian, equity-research head at Bank of America Merrill Lynch during the conference. He further explained that the scale of JPMorgan’s opportunity is what lured them in. Here’s how their discussion went:

Smith: I was talking to some of our developers, and I asked them — I often do — ‘Where’d you come from?’ And they come from the gaming industry, not the gambling industry, the gaming industry.

Najarian: Fortnite, yes.

Smith: Yes. And I said what attracted you to JP Morgan Chase from gaming? They said, “Well it’s so exciting. When we do something with JPMorgan, we can hit thirty, forty, fifty million customers.” And there’s a little bit bragging rights when you’re talking to your friends and you can say you know, “Well I’ve worked on this component of the mobile experience.” So we’ve had great success at attracting talent and retaining them.

This is not far from what Bank of America uses when hiring tech talent for its consumer bank.

However, the talent required to build JPMorgan’s business is not cheap. So, measures had to be taken in order to support the business. Smith said that the company keeps on trimming the number of call-center jobs and instead adds “digital designers, software programmers, software engineers, artificial intelligence PhDs” at the $100,000 to $150,000 range.

“When I’m moving expense into software developers, AI engineers and so on, they’re all building for the future. They’re all accelerating the medium to long-term growth of the company,” Smith said.