Citadel Sets the Bar High with Record Breaking Intern Pay Amidst Wall Street’s Pursuit of Gen Z Talent

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In the competitive landscape of Wall Street, Citadel and Citadel Securities have taken a bold step to attract and retain top Gen Z talent by offering unprecedented compensation to their summer interns. With a substantial increase in intern pay this year, Citadel is leading the pack, paying its interns an impressive $120 per hour, translating to a monthly pre-tax income of $19,200 for a typical 40-hour workweek. The surge in intern compensation reflects Citadel’s exceptional financial performance, having generated a staggering $16 billion in profits for its clients in 2022. As Wall Street scrambles to appeal to Gen Z, Citadel’s move highlights the significance of enticing young talent with substantial financial rewards in a time of economic uncertainty.

Citadel’s Stellar Success:

Amidst its record-breaking year, Citadel’s profitability has enabled the company to go above and beyond in recognizing and rewarding its interns. The hedge fund giant surpassed industry expectations by delivering $16 billion in profits to its clients, surpassing even the monumental $15 billion earned by John Paulson through his bet against subprime mortgages in 2007. Citadel’s remarkable achievements have solidified its position as a prominent player in the financial market, inspiring a remarkable 65% increase in internship applications. As a result, the company has managed to attract the brightest young minds by offering some of the most competitive intern pay rates, outshining its industry rivals.

Ken Griffin’s Philosophy:

Citadel’s CEO, Ken Griffin, has long emphasized the importance of establishing a strong career foundation during one’s early years. Griffin believes that dedicating one’s twenties to building a robust professional framework is crucial for future success. He once advised a graduating class of interns, stating, “If you don’t spend your 20s creating a solid foundation for your career, it’s going to be very hard to do it when you’re in your 30s and 40s.” This mindset aligns with Citadel’s commitment to nurturing and empowering young talent, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities necessary to thrive in the finance industry.

Wall Street’s Pursuit of Gen Z:

Citadel’s generous intern compensation exemplifies Wall Street’s efforts to engage with and cater to the demands of Generation Z. As median intern pay across the top 16 finance firms rose by 19%, investment banking summer interns at Barclays and Bank of America are earning an annualized rate of $110,000. While this figure is commendable, it pales in comparison to the remarkable salaries Citadel’s interns are receiving. Wall Street’s strategy to attract Gen Z talent with competitive pay aligns with the generation’s vocal demand for fair compensation, particularly in the face of rising inflation and mounting student loan debt.

Balancing Work and Life:

While Gen Z desires fair pay, they also value work-life balance—a factor often neglected within the financial sector. Citadel’s high intern pay may help bridge this gap, making up for potential imbalances in work-life dynamics. Although early data suggests that Gen Z is willing to work in traditional office settings to advance their careers and network, flexibility and work-life balance remain paramount to them. Citadel’s exceptional compensation could serve as an attractive incentive for Gen Z, demonstrating the company’s commitment to valuing the well-being and financial stability of its interns.

Unanticipated Upsurge in Intern Pay:

The recent hike in intern pay across the entire finance industry might come as a surprise, considering the challenges faced by the sector in the previous year. Many banks, including JPMorgan and CitiGroup, experienced significant reductions in end-of-year bonuses, with cuts as high as 30% due to a decline in investment banking revenue following the 2021 boom. Even Goldman Sachs, one year after awarding the largest bonus on Wall Street, contemplated a potential 40% cut to banker bonuses—the most substantial decrease since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Future of Banking Careers:

While interns at Citadel revel in their substantial compensation, some senior bankers face concerns about job security, despite earning considerably more than their junior counterparts. As the financial industry adapts to changing market conditions and evolving workforce expectations, the landscape for banking careers remains uncertain. However, the allure of opportunities at firms like Citadel, where young talent is valued and rewarded generously, provides hope for those entering the industry.


Citadel’s exceptional intern pay highlights the company’s commitment to attracting and nurturing top talent in the finance industry. As Wall Street endeavors to engage with Gen Z and adapt to their priorities, competitive compensation becomes crucial. Citadel’s remarkable financial success and dedication to supporting young professionals reinforce the notion that investing in the next generation is essential for long-term prosperity. While challenges persist in the financial sector, internships with firms like Citadel offer a promising path for aspiring financiers seeking both financial stability and professional growth.