Michael Howe

The 10 investment banks employees most want to quit

March 15, 2012: 11:28 AM ET

Move over, Greg Smith! About 55,000 financiers are desperate to flee the field, says a London-based job site that has set up shop in New York.

FORTUNE -- Erstwhile Goldman Sachs vice president Greg Smith's jeremiad on The New York Times' op-ed page marked a more spectacular departure than most, but Smith is hardly the only Wall Streeter who's had enough.

Escape the City -- the name refers to the City of London, that town's financial district -- was launched in 2010 to help disillusioned bankers find their dream jobs. The outfit is now expanding to New York "in response to huge demand coming out of Wall Street," says Michael Howe, the partner who runs the firm's New York office.

Howe recently analyzed data from the 55,000 people registered on Escape the City's web site and came up with a list of the 10 investment firms where the most employees want to leave. They are:

1. JPMorgan Chase (JPM)
2. Goldman Sachs (GS)
3. Morgan Stanley (MS)
4. Bank of America (BAC)
5. Citigroup (C)
6. Lazard (LAZ)
7. UBS (UBS)
8. Deutsche Bank (DB)
9. Credit Suisse (CS)
10. Barclays (BCS)

Citing research showing that about 60% of all corporate employees would choose a different line of work if they had a chance to do it over again (51% of twentysomethings already have misgivings about the career paths they've chosen), Howe -- himself a Merrill Lynch refugee -- says he and his two partners started Escape the City "because we were frustrated, unfulfilled, and uninspired by our jobs and realized many others were, too."

To be sure, some ex-financiers end up in other corporate positions -- just, evidently, more interesting ones: Big companies like Google, Apple, and Groupon regularly troll the firm's site looking for iconoclastic new hires.

Still, most of the restless bankers who sign on to Escape the City are looking for something completely different. Among the jobs they have found through the site so far: Managing a beach lodge in Mozambique, running a post office in Antarctica, hosting a safari camp in northern Botswana, keeping the books for a luxury golf resort on the Red Sea, and hosting a television series called Paradise Hunter.

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