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Alternative jobs for traders (and their pay)

Last week we looked at possible alternative careers for investment bankers who want to get out of financial services. This week, we’re providing a similar service for traders.

Former traders’ alternative career options are a lot more disparate than those for investment bankers, but they include –

1.) Recruitment

This may not be feasible in the current climate, but in better times ex-traders have reinvented themselves as financial services recruiters/headhunters. Examples include: Shaun Springer, chief executive of Napier Scott, or Adrian Ezra, founder and CEO of Execuzen.

James Campion, a former trader turned recruiter at Michael Page, says trading and recruitment have things in common: “Being able to think on your feet [as a recruiter] is a huge plus. You’re often instructed on a temp or interim post and have to turn it around very quickly. It requires a similar pace of thinking.”

Simon Hughes, a recruiter of recruiters at Highview Search and Selection, says the recruitment industry could benefit from an injection of ex-traders: “One of the criticisms you see leveled at recruiters is a lack of technical knowledge.” However, Hughes says traders will be fortunate to get a job in recruitment unless hiring picks up again.

Pay: Most former traders will need to go into recruiting/headhunting at associate level. This means a base salary of 40-50k, plus a negligible bonus.

2). Customer services in IT companies

IT companies offering trading systems used by banks can accommodate ex-traders as customer services professionals.

Simon Masters, head of recruitment for electronic trading vendor Trayport, confirms that this is so. However, he says junior traders are most likely to make the move because senior traders balk at the disparity in earnings.

Pay: Masters says customer services professionals in IT vendor companies can expect around 45k, although this is always dependent upon ‘what you can bring to the table.”

3). Professional poker

Traders have always an innate fondness for poker, and now that poker has moved online, it’s become more accessible. Style.com relates how one Wall Street banker turned to poker after losing his job, and then carried on playing poker once he’d found another one.

Pay: Steve Weinstein, a former Wall Street trader is said to have made $827k out of poker. He is the exception rather than the rule.

4). Other

Former traders have also been known to become tour guides (pay 25 a tour), owners of shops selling comics and best selling authors. We also suspect several are cab drivers.

Comments (30)

  1. Come on, you can’t go from a trader earning 6/7 figures to 40-45k (ie a 1st year graduate). Be realistic, who’s going to do that? Anyone with any self-worth would try something audacious like entreprise, gambling, poker which could fail or win rather than accept 45k.

    Redundant and not doing a 45k job Reply
  2. What about trading privately? Or did they, like some of the ‘Masters of the Universe’ we’ve read about just jump on a rising market over the last ten years and ‘made’ a killing?

    If a brick layer loses his job then he’ll seek work somewhere else as a brickie (assuming the building market picks up!). Why jump from a supposedly lucrative career/job into something that will probably pay less?

  3. Are comic book shops the new Goldman Sachs?

  4. Redundant and not doing a 45k job…hope you amassed plenty of savings you are going to need them. based on much personal knowledge ,i would suggest that most traders are hot when behind 4 screens and following the trend but rather poorer in the life skils department ( do watch trading floors when the closing bells go..it can take hours to clear the floor as people try to negotiate the doors ,especially if there is no pull or push label

  5. Assuming you have lost your job as a trader because you arent good enough I dont fancy the chances of taking up professional poker and being any good!

  6. What a pointless article! Not many of us are going to lower ourselves to the above!

  7. To “Redundant and not doing a 45K job”: firm “traders” have zero enterprise. That’s why they work for corporations, where there’s no personal accountability for losses. They won’t do anything entreprenurial because there’s a big catch: you don’t get 300,000 pound bonuses when your enterprise fails! You get creditors calling your home looking for their money.

    If one had any self worth at all as a “trader”, he/she would be at a prop firm risking his own money and getting 100% of the rewards. Instead most “traders” in the City hide behind bank balance sheets where mediocity flourishes. They delude themselves into thinking “I” made money, when in fact it was their bank’s or Hedge fund’s 50:1 levered balance sheet that was solely responsible for any absolute return.

    Johnny Moondog Reply
  8. I did not know all traders are paid a six figure 300000 pound basic what about the ones who earn 60 to 80 at small investment firms.

  9. Useless article. Like for any other specialty, once you’re out, you’re out in the cold. Your experience is worthless out of the markets, and all other “market-related” jobs (risk, MO, BO) are already overstaffed. Besides, you never wanted those boring jobs anyway! So why not act as a grown-up and face reality: no recruitment agency has a @# clue of what to do with you (they never knew what to do with themselves in the first place), so go out there and do ANYTHING, no matter what, to make money for yourself. Trading was just an accessory means to an inescapable end.

  10. you are talking about traders and money – but do you really want to be a trader? from a human being point of view i mean…
    socially they’re a curse – culturally underdeveloped

    i’m sad for them as their favourite game doesn’t exist anymore, but com’on, seriously, nobody wants to be a trader

  11. Useless article, funny reactions. But one point made is valid: What about trading privately? Indeed all traders believe they know what’s going to happen next. A few of them believe they are the superior race.
    Time to show what you can do.

  12. Outside of the City, there are not that many ways to make over 100,000 p/a, unless you have your own business. The easy money in property speculation dried up several years ago and there are fewer ways to make a leveraged profit.

    A large chunk of those losing their jobs in the ’08/’09 clear out will not work again in the City as it will become a much smaller industry for years to come.

    50k is actually a decent wage outside of the City, often for roles that are complex than better paid ones in the City (I know – I used to do one). People unable to get back in, need to adjust their expectations, and not think that they can gamble for a living.

  13. You just need to meet some of the ex liffe floor guys , they were all on 50k + back in the 90’s.
    when the floor closed some of them went on to make millions like David Kyte and some became cabbies !

  14. What aobut teaching? I used to work for a well-known top-tier investment firm and they sent me to a course on finance basics.
    Those sort of courses are very specialised and thus will be in great demand (the same people did all our graduate training)
    Also worth mentioning that teachers these days get paid around the 30-40k mark…almost MO money…but with a decent job, lots of holidays and almost 0 pressuer

  15. I do think that trading privately is the solution.Beeing in the job for over 20 years… I have not see alot of traders making money when they did not have the flow from clients…..

  16. A trader who truly knows how to trade can never be out of a job.

  17. Are cabbies the new Goldman Sachs?

    Merchant Banker Reply
  18. you can always go to barcalona and sell Nasdaq, from a little office and call your self Dave!

  19. Given the wide range of skills it takes to be a trader I’d imagine the ideal job would be dodging traffic while picking up nickels from the roadway. Quick and opportunistic in the face of long odds of year end net positive equity.

  20. Peter’s comment that A trader who truly knows how to trade can never be out of a job, is idiotic. He obviously has never worked on Wall Street. He must think everyone is like Soros. Yeah, if your a PM or Prop trader but must traders are execution or sales traders. Your a bonehead Peter!

  21. Seriously, how is it possible to survive on 50k? What planet do you guys live on??

    Hjalmar Lindholm Reply
  22. “…most traders are execution or sales traders”

    99% of people, in banking and outside, don’t know this.

  23. hjalmar 2 yrs out of uni, now at ml in sales – you telling me you couldnt survive on 50k at lunds.

  24. Yup, I agree with the general sentiment of the replies in this article. Whilst a 45K/year job might be better than nothing, it’s not a pallatable solution for 99% of traders. Quite simply, with that kind of money you will still starve to death, not literally but mentally.

    Asking a trader to do a 45K/year job is equivalent to asking a middle manager to take on a junior helpdesk job at 13K/year.

    If you agree to that, you may as well throw the towel inn, cash in your assets and move elsewhere in the world where the sun shines.

  25. recconartist, are you stalking me? I can do worse…

    Hjalmar Lindholm Reply
  26. 50k sounds low – but i know HH guys that in good times make 600k – 1m+ with commision if good. rare but they are out there.

    retiredforgood Reply
  27. Traders can be great guys and valuable employees. My experience is that with an MBA they turn into pretty good marketing people. I suggest retrainning in that direction.

    For the snobs, this is not about whether you will lower yourself to becoming a cab driver. Life is hard, and it sometimes deals tough blows to good people. Do what you have to do to in the short term and try to keep your eye on the ball in the long-term

  28. i am trading in indian stocks for the last 20 years
    may i help you to develop your dreams

  29. Ahhh Mr Ezra of Flaming Ferrari fame…struck off by the FSA!

  30. a taxi driver yes! i have found my job , wow thanks EF!!

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