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The highly quantitative, essential job that banks are struggling to hire for

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Do you have a PhD in Economics? Do you know central banking policy inside out? Can you predict macroceconomic trends and their potential impact on large global banks? Can you analyse these and create stress-testing scenarios to ensure the bank meets regulatory requirements globally? Can you communicate these to relative laymen in the bank? Oh, and do you have a good understanding of statistical programming languages like VBA, Matlab or C++?

If you find yourself eagerly nodding along to the above, you should contact the HR team of your nearest global bank right now. Investment banks are scouring competitors, central banks and academia to find economists who can help them develop stress-testing models using macroeconomic quantitative modelling techniques and, according to headhunters, for roles that are proving incredibly difficult to fill.

“Some of the best candidates are based in academia and have little desire to leave for an investment bank,” says one headhunter currently recruiting for a number of roles. “Investment banks themselves are also very conscious of keeping hold of their current employees and often counter-offer any candidates who are offered the job because of the problems they know they’ll have refilling the role.”

Among the banks currently hiring for these roles are HSBC, Morgan Stanley, UBS and GE Capital. HSBC is currently looking for the senior position of global head of economic stress testing scenario design.

Headhunters suggest that the scarcity of candidates in this area is ensuring that vacancies remain open for some time, with many firms accepting applications since the beginning of the year.

Part of the problem, aside from the number of candidates available, is that while the roles tend to involve dealing with senior managing directors in the business, it still sits within the risk function and therefore tends not to offer particularly generous salaries. Considering that any potential candidate needs to be very well-qualified indeed, pay still hovers around the £70-90k mark.

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