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Don’t quit if you’re a quant

Quantitative analysts are staying comparatively safe in the current cut-throat world of Aussie banking. And there are also opportunities in the corporate sector.

Quants offer pure, unemotional mathematical analysis, which is much needed in these turbulent times.

“They are not for the chopping board. They’re not dreading the phone call. Good quants are very good at what they do,” says Andrew Blades, general manager at recruiter Bradman Recruitment.

As well as their ability to assess stock markets, quants’ support and implementation skills are needed because of integration projects in the local banking sector, says Melissa Tal a consultant at recruiter Michael Page.

And even if some banks are not hiring, neither are they firing. After all, quants analyse the market, whichever way it’s moving.

Corporates that need heavy-duty market models – especially telecoms, media, IT and commodity companies -. hire quants. Blades reckons good quants can “easily migrate to an ASX 20 company”.

Employers from climate change organisations to derivatives trading firms and insurers also need highly skilled mathematicians.

Tal agrees that it’s often easy for quants to get non-banking jobs. “It is not unusual to see them contemporaneously applying for different jobs in different sectors. They are the very top academic achievers, are rare and highly valued,” she adds

Base pay is fairly universal but non-banking jobs lack the same level of bonuses, says Corey Babich, a recruiter at Robert Walters. Hedge funds might outdo everyone on the total-compensation front if there’s an equity component in the package.

Is life really this good for quants? Let us know your thoughts below.

Comments (3)

Comments
  1. The Australian Quant market is growing and booming.

    But what the article failed to mention, is you need at the very least a PhD. Quants are highly sought after because they are usually highly-qualified and smart.

  2. agreed. depends on definition of a ‘quant’. anybody who does modelling can be called a quant. if you are referring to Maths Students or PhD then yes – there is scarcity in the current market.

  3. A PhD isn’t compulsory, some of the best quants I know don’t have them. My experience has taught me PhD’s hire more PhD’s (they’re like HR staff but actually produce value in that respect). I think they just get frustrated when a person can’t talk at their level and dresses better. Many firms prefer engineering backgrounds as you get the math and a level of practical application awareness that PhD’s can lack simply through limited experience. You’ll find the best quant teams are made up of a broad range of disciplines and qualification levels, so don’t think not having a PhD excludes you.

    Specific to the article I’ve not heard of anyone moving to the corporate world from a quant team but that may start to happen soon. For now Quants are pretty safe as there’s a big mess out there to sort out (not to mention changing a lot of model assumptions for management), once the sales, prop desks, a few MD’s and thankfully HR go, then there may be a need to chop some geeks but the banks know they need them.

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