Business grads: We’ll pay you to not come to work… yet

A twist on downsizing in investment banking

Recent university grad looking to get into investment banking? One I-bank will pay you to go and take a sabbatical year — before you even start work.

That’s the word from Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank that, like every other player on Wall Street, is feeling the pain of the recession. So it’s temporarily laying off employees who haven’t even done their first day of work yet. According to an article from Bloomberg yesterday (the best link I could find was here; click and scroll down a bit), 20 per cent of CS’s next class of investment bank analysts have accepted a US$40,000 offer to defer their employment start date until July, 2010. The offer was made to U.S. college graduates recruited to the bank, who would have started this summer.

The news is one more example of the poor job environment facing aspiring bankers. But CS’s long term view is surprisingly confident. After all, CS isn’t eliminating these not-yet-employees. It’s asking them to wait a year — by which time it presumably expects that its services and their skills will be more in demand. Instead of burning the proverbial furniture to heat the building, it’s trying to hang on to the most talented young recruits, assuming that it will soon need them. As the cliche goes, only time will tell.