The JPMorgan Chase staffers stopped, briefly startled by construction sounds resembling a jackhammer that interrupted their gathering on the ninth-floor offices of its digital headquarters. They quickly returned to the task at hand: billiards.
Needless to say, this is not your ordinary bank office.
JPMorgan's digital initiative made its new home in 5 Manhattan West, near the city's developing Hudson Yards district and representative of a culture shift taking place on Wall Street. The bank aims to recruit millennial talent away from startups and tech industry titans, whose experience is ripe for financial services products that are increasingly being consumed online.
Today, the bank's digital operations headcount is more than 1,500; it seems certain that figure will only grow.
"We really need to attract talent from across the industry spectrum," Gavin Michael, JPMorgan Chase's head of digital, told CNBC.com in an interview.
Wall Street has to compete for tech talent with Silicon Valley companies eager to cater to needs and whims with in-office chefs, exotic retreats and benefits extending to employees' pets. It comes as pay on Wall Street, especially on the entry-level scale, has failed to match the banking business' outsized expectations.