Demand Strong for Boston Operations

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Though portfolio managers and analysts get most of the attention, the companies they work for couldn't function without the people behind the scenes. In Boston, there's a strong demand for professionals to fill these jobs.

Finding candidates, though, isn't always easy. They require specialized sets of skills such as international tax and accounting, notes Alex Cook, head of the asset management practice at Conley & Co. in Boston. "Trying to find international tax experience along with the other skill sets you are looking for can really be a tough proposition," he tells eFinancialCareers News. Such jobs pay between $300,000 and $500,000 for candidates with 10 to 15 years experience, he says.

Several hedge funds in the region are in need of seasoned operational executives, adds Cook. Candidates for those positions need "credibility in finance and credibility in compliance and in vendor relations." The positions pay a few hundred thousand dollars per year to seven figures, depending on experience and company.

Lower-level jobs also are available. Ryan Sutton, a regional vice president at Robert Half International, sees strong demand for credit analysts, product accountants, hedge fund accountants, and portfolio accountants. "We're seeing strong demand for back office (people) in Boston," Sutton says. "They are still hiring accounting and finance specialists, especially in the specialized space.... As demand increases, and since quantities of applicants are still tight, salaries are still increasing."

Stu Coleman, the general manager of the Winter, Wyman Companies' Financial Contracting New England group, has plenty of temporary-to-permanent positions at the entry level, including fund accounting jobs which pay between $18 and $22 per hour. Permanent jobs in the area pay $38,000 to $42,000 per year. Available compliance and reporting jobs pay $25 to $45 per hour on a temporary basis and $50,000 to $90,000 on a permanent basis.

Though the pay may seem low compared with other jobs, they aren't dead ends, Coleman says. "(Companies) are allowing people to use this as an entrance to the organization," he explains.

IT Needs

There also is a continued, strong demand for IT professionals, such as business analysts who act as liaisons between a company and its consultants, says Brian Flynn of AccountPros. "There is a strong need for them, absolutely a strong need for them. It's been that way for a long time," he says. "Fidelity moved a bunch of people down to Texas for this type of job."

Business analyst positions pay between $80,000 and $100,000 per year, more for people with project management experience. To land one of these jobs, being computer-savvy isn't enough: "They want good industry experience, five to seven years," Flynn says.

Given the current economic environment, job seekers need to be patient, recruiters caution. They note many of the best jobs never get advertised.

"Everyone has plans for hiring in 2008, but everyone is being very prudent with their timetable because the first quarter was tough," remarks Cook. "The plans are still in place to build for growth."

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