Trade wars between the U.S. and China, Brexit and the ongoing search for a new prime minister in the UK have all dented business confidence, so recruitment has reduced.
Across Asset Management, there has been more of a drive to fill investment risk second line roles and building out their function, funds are starting to be more proactive with the oversight responsibilities required. Fixed Income is dominating the requirements for junior candidates to have exposure to as it considered the most demanded Asset Class at the moment. There is a key crossover between Quants and Front Office Risk roles in the Buy-Side. The skills transferred between a Quant Analyst and Investment Risk specialist are very similar; VAR, Python and Performance Attribution.
For Banking, senior level hires have been quieter because decision making has been delayed and internal mobility movement has been the priority focus. Regulatory driven areas have seen consistently steady hiring at AVP/VP level, especially in Quant Finance across Risk Analytics and Model Validation. More niche areas that have seen recruitment include Credit Risk, Leveraged Finance, E-Trading and FRTB. With trading desks moving to Europe, the risk has to be managed from where the risk is being taken, meaning functions are slowly moving out of London. There has been a noticeable shift towards roles moving to locations across France, Poland and Ireland.
There has been a lull in contract recruitment, with many banks taking the strategic decision to fill most vacancies with permanent employees. Part of this is down to the incoming enforcement of IR35 in March 2020.
Many banks and financial institutions are offering greater holiday allowance and better benefits, including flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home, as a retention tool for when bonuses are lower. CSR is attractive to many professionals and is a growing trend, however it has a way to go before becoming fully mainstream and a key decision maker for applicants when considering a new role. Internal movement has been a real focus as organisations have tried to redistribute their staff rather than letting them leave or hiring externally.
Contract day rates have stayed very much the same, however we are starting to see shorter term contracts with the implementation of IR35 due less than a year away. The banks and financial institutions do not want any contractors working through a Ltd company beyond March 30th 2020, as they will need to take a view on whether they are inside or outside IR35.
Being a predominantly male dominated industry, any females applying for technical roles like quantitative finance have been highly sought after and junior methodology roles in FRTB is also somewhere there is a lack of top talent at the analyst/AVP level. Beyond this some of the key experience and skills that will make a CV stand out have included:
I would suggest being pragmatic about the state of the economy and what is happening in the world. Recruitment and business confidence are both being damaged by trade wars between the U.S. and China, Brexit and the ongoing search for a new prime minister in the UK.
Despite a slow first half of 2019, we hope that things are going to improve as we progress towards the end of the year.