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Looking for a new finance job? This could take some time

If you're looking for a new job in banking and finance this winter, you may need to be patient. Very few people find new jobs in the industry quickly.

We had nearly 1,000 global responses to our recent survey on the ease of finding new jobs in finance, with respondents spread between London, New York City, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe. Only 12% of those people said they found their last job within a month of looking. Instead, 58% said it took over six months to find something new - with 34% saying it took over a year.

Finding a new job in financial services is therefore a marathon and not a sprint. If you start looking now, you might have a new job by the summer - if you're lucky.

Our survey suggested surprisingly little variation in the amount of time it takes to find a new job by sector, with even 52% of supposedly 'hot' technologists looking for six months or more. There was, however, some variation by age, with 35-44 year olds seeming to be particular deliberate about the roles they move into: a high of 62% of people in this category said they took six months or more before settling on their most recent job. Being laid-off was similarly correlated with looking for a long time: 64% of people who said they'd been downsized also said they were looking for new jobs for six months or more.

The more surprising news is that even though it takes time to find new jobs in finance, most jobseekers aren't in the habit of spraying their resumes around. Only 25% of people said they applied for more than 30 jobs, with nearly 40% of people applying for fewer than five. The most dilligent appliers were women and over 45 year-olds, 32% of whom applied for more than 30; nearly 20% over over 45 year-olds applied for '100s'.

There was some indication that people who don't apply for many jobs get new roles sooner. - 24% of people who applied for fewer than five roles found a new job in less than month, possibly because they were headhunted for their position or simply found something almost immediately. By comparison, nearly 80% of people who applied for over 30 jobs were still looking six months later. This might reflect a tinge of desperation, or simply be because the longer you're looking, the more roles you end up applying for.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • EC
    13 July 2023

    I have been looking for almost a year and nothing. I have applied to more than 1000 jobs and nothing. Its very discouraging, every day a new cover letter, upgrade the resume for then go into easy interviews and get rejected. Meritocracy is not something appreciated in the financial industry. I should have gone into engineering

  • SP
    28 January 2020

    It is very frustrating in the "greatest economy in history of mankind". A year ago, I took a job at Euro bank for more than 10% pay cut plus level demotion after nearly 6 months of looking. With two kids, I could not wait any longer. While it is ok for now, I have zero hopes for any career path or salary raise. My boss has been passed by for years so little hope for me. I still take calls from recruiters but clearly something is wrong with pay scales. NYC is most expensive city in this country and I get quotes for 70/hr with no benefits for sr implementation roles. Something is seriously wrong here.

  • Ja
    27 January 2020

    How can someone cope with a year of unemployment? Having 6months of emergency fund is already quite difficult, especially if you've got a family. It would be interesting to have stats on the severance package that people get to help them survive during that period.

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