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The eight hottest candidates banks want to hire before Christmas

Neither a CFA nor an MBA will make you hot

It’s barely a week until Christmas when you put your feet up, overdose on mince pies and watch another re-run of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Do you hunker down for the remainder of 2013, to emerge refreshed, a little podgy, and raring to go next year? Or, do you relentlessly continue your job search until the last minute?

Before answering these questions, you should assess just how hot your skill-set and business area is. This month, two of the City’s largest recruitment firms – Morgan McKinley and Astbury Marsden – have released their assessment of the London finance job market. The consensus is that it’s decidedly better than this time last year – with a 30-40% uplift in job numbers on December 2012 – and broadly in line with the last three months.

However, there are certain roles that for either expansionary or ‘business critical’ reasons financial services firms are still eager to recruit for. We’ve taken the recruiters’ assessment of the hot jobs currently, and compared it with our own figures, as well as giving an idea of the rarity of the skill-set based on our CV database encompassing over 2m people globally. If you’re in the list below, put down the mulled wine and start polishing your CV.

1. Equity derivatives

The increase in equities revenues this year by 28%, according to Deutsche Bank analysts, has resulted in a particular demand for professionals with equity derivatives experience, says Astbury Marsden. Earlier this month, BAML hired Mohamed Yangui as head of equity derivatives structuring in London, suggesting big name hires are still on the agenda.

Number of jobs globally: 159

Number of potential applicants per job: 7.1

Candidate hotness rating (1-10): 8

2. Change management/Strategy

Whether it’s banks rolling out wholesale changes to anything from their finance functions to treasury, or a gradual ‘evolution’ of the banks’ business model, change managers have been hot since the financial crisis hit. For years, many were engaged on lucrative contract roles, but more recently financial services organisations have been attempting to recruit them on a full-time basis. There has therefore been sustained demand, suggests Morgan McKinley.

Number of jobs globally: 261

Number of potential applicants per job: 2.6

Candidate hotness rating (1-10): 10

3. Quantitative trading

Quant strategy hedge funds may have been struggling recently, but banks’ continued investment into their quantitative trading programmes has ensured that jobs are still being advertised in the tail end of the year, suggests Astbury Marsden, .

Number of jobs globally: 216

Number of potential applicants per job: 11.4

Candidate hotness rating (1-10): 7

4. EMIR regulatory reporting

The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) came into force in August last year, aiming to ensure the stability of OTC derivative markets across the EU. The result, throughout 2013, has a steady stream of regulatory reporting and business analyst roles within the banks. These are business critical, says Morgan McKinley, hence the continued recruitment in December.

Number of jobs globally: 51

Number of potential applicants per job: 13.6

Candidate hotness rating (1-10): 6

5. Know-Your-Customer (KYC) specialists

Ensuring that banks aren’t doing business with dodgy characters has ensured that KYC specialist teams within compliance departments have been swelling throughout the year. Again, this is something banks have to hire for, hence the roles being pushed through in the last part of the year, according to Morgan McKinley.

Number of jobs globally: 191

Number of potential applicants per job: 16.3

Candidate hotness rating (1-10): 5.5

6. ‘Information Technology’

The relentless investment in technology, which has been hampering banks’ bottom lines, continues regardless of market conditions. To get ahead of their competitors, financial services firms are still hiring IT professionals, says Morgan McKinley. However, our figures, suggest a move away from pure development positions and more of a focus on strategic or leadership roles. The top three in-demand skills are:

a. Project management

A positive sign that banks are starting to think about projects for the new year. Expect development and technical architect roles to follow.

Number of jobs globally: 241

Number of potential applicants per job: 33.1

Candidate hotness rating: 4

b. FX technology

An ever-expanding area of technology as investment banks are constantly engaged in a technology arms race to gain the fastest and flashiest FX platform. However, banks are also looking for business analysts and project managers who can oversee cross-asset platforms encompassing FX, rates, credit and equity as well as associated derivative products.

Number of jobs globally: 198

Number of potential applicants per job: 5.4

Candidate hotness rating: 8.5

c. Risk technology

Think regulation, which is eating up an ever larger proportion of banks’ IT budgets. Predominantly, banks are looking for those with analytics and data reporting skills to deal with the deluge of regulatory compliance issues.

Number of jobs globally: 142

Number of potential applicants per job: 28.4

Candidate hotness rating: 5

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