If you’ve passed your 35th birthday and you’re looking for a new job in finance, you might be finding it tough. Like it or not, banks prefer the young and inexperienced to the old and expensive.
Unfortunately this applies to every single sector of the industry. An analysis of the roles advertised on eFinancialCareers globally reveals that each and every corner of the financial services universe has many more jobs available for junior candidates than for senior ones. Maybe this is inevitable – banking is famously hierarchical and a pyramidal structure will always be bigger at the bottom than at the top. Nonetheless, the drop-off in available jobs – shown in the chart below – is pretty stark.
Overall, only 2.2% of jobs in finance are specifically advertised to candidates with more than 15 years’ experience. Using years of experience as a proxy for age (and assuming that most people start their finance careers in their early 20s), this suggests that advertised opportunities in finance when you’re 35+ are pretty hard to come by.
Some sectors are slightly more friendly to the mature finance professional than others, however. As the chart below shows, opportunities for 35 year-olds in operations are fairly numerous as a percentage of the total compared to the industry average.
The worst sector for ‘older’ workers is hedge funds. Fewer than 1% of the jobs currently advertised in hedge funds require 15 years’ experience. Maybe that’s because hedge funds only really took off in the past 15 years. Maybe it’s because senior hedge fund jobs are filled by word of mouth. Either way, good luck finding a new role if you’re a 40-something hedge fund professional searching for an opportunity this summer.