If you’re looking to get in the banking industry at some point in 2014, here are the 10 financial skills that the industry will be looking for across key markets.
- Risk Management. There will be a big demand on the buy side. January saw a significant upturn in risk related recruitment. In fact, the industry saw a record number of scheduled interviews. Most were for new positions, not replacements. Analysts in the field will be in high demand and short supply.
- Electronic Trading. There is definitely a growth in senior candidates on the buy side, prop trading and hedge funds resulting in a build up to electronic trading platforms. The U.S. is leading in recovery in quant equity space. As modeling begins incorporating a more strategic outcome, the need for pure modeling skills is falling. This is becoming a field for PhD candidates instead of MSc.
- Quants. There is a rapidly growing search for experience with structured derivatives and exotic products for the first time in years. The trend supports an increase in risk throughout the market. Demand for quants in advisory roles has increased as well as in analytic houses like Thomas Reuters, Bloomberg and Marit. The industry expansion is likely to outdistance good talent.
- Investment Banking. Focusing on senior analysts and M&A associates, there will be great demand for levels one and two. Banks are focused on candidates with track records in foreign languages and transactions. Consumer, TMT and infrastructure teams look to recruit for mid- and senior level spots. Leading UK and European banks have begun to release staff or struggle to keep their best.
- Hedge Funds and Private Equity. The last few years have seen a market focus on recruitment on the analyst to vice president level. Now the market is moving toward senior level candidates. They want experience that can bring innovation and forward thinking to the mix. Senior professionals in alternative investment strategies will be in high demand, especially with debt, illiquid and direct lending knowledge.
- Fixed Income. Most demand in fixed income still remains in the flow space, especially in market flow sales and trading. This comes with activity in fixed income solution space out of boutique or emerging names that offer structured funding solutions. A number of major players fall short here due to regulatory/balance sheet constraints.
- Financial Technology. Python skills will continue to be in great demand. Major banks have always competed for these candidates even as we are seeing smaller bankers and boutiques prowl for experts as they lean toward Python as the language of choice. Another product that will remain in high demand is C#. There is a strong market for this in London where the field is contract driven. Yet there is also a growing market for permanent opportunities. Another need is going to hardware experts as enterprises prepare to design proprietary hardware to maximize their competitive edge. Asia’s growth in algo/electronic trading is probably going to start a skills drain in the East. This could lead to talent relocating if the reward is attractive enough.
- Economics and Strategy. In the space of economics and strategy, there has been a significant increase in demand for emerging market country specialists at the associate level. Companies are also searching for experiences with influential central banks with a strong network and credibility alongside comprehension of business econometrics.
- Compliance. An increase in buy side regulations has created a demand for experienced and senior compliance officers. There are roles for counter terrorism financing and anti-money laundering. These are highly attractive and well paying for any candidate looking for variety and challenge. Employers are even looking beyond normal realms for talent. There has been a definitive actual shift towards candidates with experience in technology and intelligence.
- Commodities Sales and Trading. This is definitely a field for anyone with Chinese work experience and/or Mandarin language skills. Language skills in Mandarin and direct experience in the Chinese market is in high demand in both Asia and London. With the past few years seeing poor market conditions, there’s an emergence in recruitment along these lines, particularly in Chinese and Canadian banks and emerging market trading houses. This is especially appealing to potential employers if there is also experience in a commercial environment and a list of active clients.
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