Summer vacations are over and some people are thinking of applying for new jobs. Not just any jobs though. The finance jobs that people want to move into now typically have one thing in common: they're remote, and will remain that way.
"I am constantly am getting candidates who are saying, even for trading roles, "Can we work remotely? - We want to work remotely," says one headhunter who works with traders and developers in banks and hedge funds. "Through lockdown people have seen that they prefer working from home, but financial institutions have begun asking people in front office roles to go back. Generally, people prefer home - they're asking if I have remote working positions as an alternative."
The enthusiasm for remote working comes as banks like JPMorgan and Citi have been asking senior traders and others to come back into their offices. JPMorgan has already sent some employees home again after an employee tested positive for the virus on the Manhattan equities trading floor.
One JPMorgan executive director (ED) in London said he doesn't intend to go back in, despite the call for EDs and managing directors (MDs) to return next Monday. "I depend on the tube for commuting and live with kids as someone in a high risk category. I'm already exposed to infection via schools, and adding the commute/office would increase my chances of getting/carrying the virus even more," he says. "This could fatally impact the high risk person in my household unless I self-isolate when I get home on an ongoing basis which is practically impossible."
Headhunters said it's senior staff who are most averse to going back in. One New York-based cash equities trader in her late 40s said recent months have been a breath of fresh air. "I used to wake up at 5am, get on a train at 6am, to sit at my desk from 7:15am-5:30pm. I can't go back to the daily grind of commuting 2.5 hours per day and not seeing my family in the morning and for dinner."
Now that senior staff have woken up to the fact that working at home for some or all of their week can offer a higher quality of life, banks offering long term work from home potential could be at an advantage when hiring.
Younger staff, however, are keener to get back. One fixed income headhunter says there's a distinct demographic split in WFH enthusiasm. "Senior people who've done well are happy working from homes in the country, but juniors want to get back into the office." The waverers are mid-ranking bankers with young children, he says: "It was hard before when children were at home, but now children are back at school, people are quite enjoying it."
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