'Don't quit, we'll buy your pants'

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The Independent Online

Salomon Smith Barney, one of the investment banks suffering an exodus of staff to the internet, has found the solution: free toothbrushes and underwear.

These are among the perks the bank has invoked to persuade top employees to resist the lure of the web. Other demands which have been met include free gourmet meals for staff working late and complimentary laptop computers.

Salomon has been asked to apply some TLC to the bruised egos of analysts whose only other comfort in life is a seven-figure basic salary (not to mention bonuses several times bigger). In an internal memo addressed to a staff officer at the company, analysts said the reason for the record number of departures of colleagues within the past year was "general disrespect of analysts". Most have been tempted away by the fortunes offered by internet start-up companies.

The memo continues: "Oftentimes, senior officers and associates view analysts as nothing more than resources to be used and abused as they see fit. Too many times have analysts in this group heard 'I'm not doing this. That's analyst work'."

Other complaints include invasions of their personal lives, when senior managers demand that analysts come into the office for no better reason than to send a fax.

Flying procedures were another cause for grievance. "The firm changed its policy so that if business class to the West Coast is unavailable, analysts have to fly coach, as opposed to being bumped to first. Another example of the second-class citizenship of an analyst."