Big money is back on Wall Street, and top banks are opening their wallets in a fierce competition to hire new workers and keep the ones they have.
Wall Street employment lawyer Steven Eckhaus, who works at McDermott Will & Emery and represents top bankers, told the New York Times that he negotiated several eight-figure salary packages for his clients. And he said that one of his clients received a $20 million signing bonus after a bidding war that lasted four months.
Eckhaus did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.
The eye-popping number reflects a larger trend of banks spending whatever it takes to keep their employees happy two years into a grueling pandemic. Morgan Stanley reported that its compensation expenses increased by 18% in 2021 compared to the previous year. For Goldman Sachs, that increase was around 23% more per employee. Overall, Wall Street companies gave the biggest payouts for the 2021 holiday season than they had since 2009.
The typical base pay for graduates in their initial or second year on Wall Street has now reached $100,000 without factoring in yearly bonuses, the Times reported. But the biggest players at those banks are raking in money in the tens of millions. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman was paid $35 million last year, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon earned a total of $34.5 million for 2021.
However, even with fiercely competitive compensation packages, many bank employees are still transitioning to other industries, citing long hours and burnout. Wall Streeters now appear to want a better work/life balance and more control over their hours.
Goldman Sachs employees recently complained about putting in 120-hour workweeks during the pandemic and lamented the mental strain of regularly working on weekends.
Employees at financial institutions are now looking elsewhere and seeking job opportunities in the cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency companies are attractive to young bankers because of their generous benefits packages such as increased paid vacation time, cryptocurrency 401(k)s, full-time remote flexibility, and even fertility benefits.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com