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This is where the talent shortages are on Wall Street

Some skills are scarce

Financial services firms have been cutting headcount, they've been freezing recruitment and focusing on internal moves. But this doesn't mean that there aren't bright spots and within these hot sectors Wall Street firms are working harder to hire the skills they need. Do you work in a sector with talent shortages?

“While firms may look to hire, they’re frequently running into challenges, most notably talent shortages,” said Doug Rickart, vice president and division director of Robert Half Financial Services. “A response we’re now seeing when firms extend a job offer is to anticipate that the candidate’s current employer will counter with more money.”

The trend for counter-offers has meant that firms doing the hiring have taken a pre-emptive step of raising compensation as the offer is extended to minimise the appeal of your current employer trying to keep hold of you. But only for some roles.

Predictably, with regulation continuing to weigh heavily on banks, compliance is one area where banks are battling for talent, he says. But they're also looking to recruit to "support business growth". Where are the talent shortages now?

Demand for data expertise

Peter Laughter, the CEO of recruiters Wall Street Services, says that banks are battling for data skills

“People who have an understanding of data quality, data analytics and data modeling, data mapping and warehousing – how the process of data management works at financial institutions – are very attractive right now,” Laughter said. “Compared to areas where banks are cutting, it’s a much more sustainable place for people to be over the next several years and likely beyond.”

“For [financial services] organizations to get a handle around their data, they’re looking to hire entry-level people who really understand stats and data modeling and who can actually manipulate and play with the data,” he added. “On a more senior level, people who have experience working in enterprise data management or data-quality roles are very much in demand.:"

Laughter says that juniors can earn $80k and $110k per year, but if you can "set up departments of data quality", it's possible to earn up to $500k. "It’s quite lucrative once you get 10 or 15 years of experience," he says.

Quants needed 

As we've mentioned, investment banks have upped their search for quant skills, primarily with model validation and risk analytics skills. Michelle Goler, principal consultant of quantitative finance and valuations at Selby Jennings, confirms that Wall Street firms are struggling to hire for these skills.

“For the banks, securing top candidates has become a consistent theme within the current market and, as such, created a competitive advantage for job seekers with niche skills sets,” Goler said. “This becomes even more advantageous to those who are receiving multiple offers."

Accountants are still hot 

Rickart said that Wall Street firms are frequently seeking finance and accounting professionals, including accountants, internal auditors and financial analysts.

While the biggest wave of hiring may have crested, as institutions strive to better manage risk and meet regulatory mandates, they are still hiring market and credit risk analysts and compliance officers and managers, he said.

The biggest salary increases

In the front office, junior investment bankers will see slightly larger increases in their base salary than senior employees, with the upper range of sell-side vice presidents’ salary increasing from $205k this year to $213k next year and managing directors’ and partners’ salary increasing from $297k to $309k, suggests Robert Half. In comparison, sell-side analysts and associates can expect a 3.8% salary raise next year, with the top-end range for the latter increasing from $116k to $121k.

The outlook on the buy side is slightly brighter and will follow a similar trend, according to Robert Half.

Portfolio managers are likely to see a 3.8% salary uptick to $171k at high end of the range, while fund managers will get a 4.1% boost to $194k. Buy-side analysts can expect a 4% increase in their salary, while buy-side associates and VPs should get a 4.1% boost to their base salaries next year, the latter up to $205k at the high end of the range.

Buy-side managing directors and partners will most likely see their base salaries increase by 3.8% to maximum of approximately $292k, according to Robert Half..

Photo Credit: zest_marina/GettyImages

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor
  • pb
    8 September 2016

    On the tech side of IB, there are legions of unemployed or underemployed techies who have the basic skills and plenty of experience that would play well in many of these positions with only some very specific training. They / we have piles of banking and financial IT experience to the degree that we understand banking, and data, and processing, and only need training in specific tools. We mainly lost our banking jobs during the Bush recession and past that as banks downsized and offshored, dumping huge numbers of good people who easily could have been transitioned into what is currently needed. I remember once back at Citi, when a project would end, they would lay off everyone, even as a project was starting across the hall needing the exact same skills and background as those dumped; those out would get severance, and Citi would hunt around for a while to find new people, and then have to train them in how things work at Citi. But Citi is not the only 'guilty' party here; most of the big banks are. There don't have to be shortages. And if they pay us a bit less while retraining us do you think we'd object?

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