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Looking for a new finance job in London or on Wall Street? Here's who you're up against

How good are the people you're up against really?

The annual exodus is underway. The current poll on our home page suggests that as far as work is concerned, 35% of you are "deeply uninterested and inclined to quit." You're sending out your CV - but how good are the people you're up against?

Finance recruiters confirm that it's all happening. "There are quite a few people applying right now," says James Kennedy, head of the quant and trading practices at NJF Search in London. Who are they? Kennedy says it's a mix: "You get some people who are annoyed because their bonus is lower than expected, there might be some who feel disenfranchised because they developed a trading strategy which someone else has taken ownership of, there are people who've been passed over for promotion, or researchers who've been supporting a portfolio manager but want their own book. - There are all sorts of reasons for moving on."

Russell Clarke, partner at fixed income-focused Figtree Search, says most fixed income professionals are circulating CVs as a purely precautionary move, Redundancy threats are still looming large in fixed income sales and trading, says Clarke - plus there's the likelihood that pay for fixed income professionals will be disappointing this year. He says candidates want to, "get ahead before the bonus round."

We looked at the resumes candidates have been loading into our own CV database over the past three months. The results, split for people looking for a finance job in London and people looking for a finance job on Wall Street, are presented below.

Notably, candidates are less skilled than you might expect - fewer than 35% of people in London cite their Excel skills on their CV (possibly because they're a given). [efc_twitter text="Most people don't have a CFA or an MBA"] and a truly minuscule percentage have both. You certainly don't need to have attended a Russell Group University in the UK, or an Ivy League college on Wall Street - although it helps. Even in London, you don't need to speak multiple languages fluently. And you don't need to be a wizard at Python or C++.

What's surprising? A comparatively large proportion of people looking for a job on Wall Street speak Cantonese. Plenty of people in both cities have a Masters. And there are more graduates of the London School of Economics alone looking for work in the City of London than there are graduates from Oxford and Cambridge universities combined. [efc_twitter text="The City's elite is not the same as the elite in the country as a whole.  "]

Technology skills

Qualifications again

top schools

(Russell Group= Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial College London, Leeds, Liverpool, London School of Economics, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, University College London and Warwick. Ivy League=Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Yale.)

Language skills


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • AS
    31 January 2015

    How do you even compare? Wall Street is hiring, London is firing. (Front Office)

  • Ob
    28 January 2015

    the CFA and MBA combo makes no sense. The only two people that I know that pulled it off are not working in the finance sector.

  • Ra
    27 January 2015

    There are 24 Universities in the Russell Group, not 17.

  • Br
    3 February 2014

    Brown is also an Ivy League university, you left that out of your list above.

  • An
    14 January 2014

    I'm surprised the figure for excel isn't much higher. Or Oxbridge, for that matter.

    Proficieny in languages other than English probably mostly reflects the nationality of employees, rather than the idea that learning French increases your employability. My experience is that there are many very highly numerately qualified French people working in London, for example. This will doubtless only be on the increase with the Pizza Delivery Clown in charge of France.

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