Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What will happen in finance?

Friday's WSJ has a great piece on what is happening on the jobs front in finance and, unfortunately for MBA students everywhere, the news isn't good. Economic research has shown that growth in the financial services sector have been a key driver behind new jobs and rising incomes over the last 25 years. Remember the "Masters of the Universe" in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities? It has been a great run.

Now all of the investment banks have either closed or been absorbed by conventional banks. Pay micromanagement from the Fed looms. The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that jobs in that sector will drop from 4.8% of the work force last year to 4.1% in 2016.

The silver lining? WSJ cites research by Kevin Murphy, Robert Vishny and Andrei Schleifer that indicates a strong likelihood that those who would have gone into finance will now be drawn into entrepreneurship where they will "improve technology in the line of business they pursue, and, as a result, productivity and income grow." Sounds like we have the right game plan at NC State!

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