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How to destroy your finance career in years one to five

Don't go there

Don't go there

There’s a phrase for the people banks want to hire now. It’s “first bouncers,” or maybe even “second bouncers,” meaning people who’ve spent a few years in banking jobs and are moving for the first or second time. They’re needed to satisfy banks’ sudden demand for juniors and are being picked off from rival firms because banks didn’t hire enough junior people back in 2010 and 2011, say recruiters.

” Within the first four years, people will surprisingly often change jobs twice. Occasionally,  we see people who have jobs twice within two years,” says Logan Naidu, chief executive of recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners. “It’s those first bouncers that banks want to hire now.”

Tempting as it may be, bouncing about during the opening years of your career may have side-effects later on, however. Simon Nixon at recruitment firm Carpenter Farraday hires junior bankers for jobs in private equity. He says PE firms will almost always prefer someone who’s spent three years with a single employer over someone who’s moved opportunistically doing their analyst or associate years.

“If you’ve changed jobs two times in two years, or three times in three years, your CV will be less impressive.  Moving that frequently shows all the wrong qualities and suggests you’re not loyal,” Nixon says. “Private equity funds will almost always prefer to hire the person who’s stayed with one bank for three years – and there are plenty of people in that category.”

It doesn’t help that PE funds prefer to hire top-rated analysts and achieving that top rating requires a lot of support from your managers. If you move too soon, you won’t get that support says Nixon.

Tom Stoddart, director at recruitment firm Eximius Finance, agrees that excessive early bouncing can be detrimental later on.”You need at least six months to learn about the role and another twelve months to start performing in it. If people have jumped a lot during the first five years of their finance career, it’s usually because they’re not much good or because they’re a contractor. We typically avoid candidates who’ve had more than two jobs during that period.”

Next time a recruiter invites you to bounce between jobs early in your professional life, you may want to tie yourself down. If not, you may regret it later on.

Related articles:

What it’s like to be Indian in M&A

Co-head of M&A at Goldman Sachs suggests the work of junior bankers is often pointless

Recruiters bemoan crazy pay rises for analysts and associates

 

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