If you're looking for a new job in finance and you want to be in work by late August, you need to watch what you apply for. There are some jobs where this is eminently achievable. There are others where it's a laughable fantasy.
eFinancialCareers' own figures underscore this reality. In the past three months, applicants per job across our key sectors globally ranged from six to 55. The average number of days each job is advertised ranged from 11 to 28.
Some jobs are a lot less competitive than others, and some types of employer are a lot less choosy.
If you're looking for the sort of finance job you can access easily now, you want to be applying for jobs in technology, compliance, or HR (and recruitment) in finance.
These jobs are the sweet-spots: there are comparatively few applicants and the jobs are advertised for a comparatively short period of time - implying that recruiters are willing to make up their minds quickly on hires. Even in these sectors, you're not assured of a position: success rates range from 11% (technology) to 6% (compliance), but these are better odds than elsewhere.
Technology jobs are the best. Here, each job is advertised for only an average of 16 days and there are just nine applicants per job. One technology recruiter (in London) suggests this is because recruiters in his sector are so efficient, but it would also seem to indicate a comparative lack of choice and a willingness of recruiters to go with whoever's available.
As a candidate, compliance jobs too continue to be comparatively easy to achieve. Despite moves to automate the compliance function (Credit Suisse, for example, says it's begun a "multi-year programme to transform compliance" with technology), compliance professionals are still in demand and still relatively hard to come by. There were 16 applicants per compliance job in the three months to July and jobs were advertised for an average of 17 days.
Financial HR and recruitment jobs also fall into the category of being 'easy to get.' There were only 12 applicants per HR and recruitment position between April and July. Job adverts were kept open for an average of 19 days, probably in an effort to muster up more interest.
If those are the easiest finance jobs to access, which are the hardest? You might want to avoid investment consulting, equities, and private equity. Jobs in each of these sectors are advertised for an average of at least three weeks (sometimes four), implying that recruiters here hold out for ideal candidates. Applicants' success rates range from 2% (private equity) to 4% (investment consulting).
Equities jobs are notably hard to come by now, with 34 people applying for each one and jobs kept open for an average of 24 days. Recruiters say this reflects both the number of people on the market and banks' pickiness, "When banks are upgrading in sales they are often very specific about the kind of client coverage they're looking for," says Lucy Matthews at Janikin Rooke.
However, it's private equity jobs that stand out as being particularly inaccessible. Notoriously hard to achieve, they're distinguished for having both a huge number of applicants per job and for the average length of time that jobs are advertised for. - Although private equity firms have 55 applicants per role to choose from, they keep on advertising for an average of 23 days. They're incredibly choosy.
In fact, this may understate the reality. Gail McManus, managing director of PER, a London-based private equity recruitment firm, says most private equity roles have between 200 and 300 applicants. Logan Naidu, CEO of recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners, says the recruitment process for private equity jobs is "far longer" than for others and that interviews can go on for up to six months. In the worst case scenario, Andy Pringle at recruitment firm Circle Square says he dealt with a PE fund that had 250 applicants for one role and that interviewed 50 of them. PE recruitment processes lasting a whole year aren't unheard of, says Pringle.
What makes PE funds so....difficult? McManus suggests it's because they hire so sparingly. "When you're only recruiting one person, you want them to be 110% right. If you're hiring 10, you might be willing to compromise a bit, but when you're hiring one to a team of just 20 people you have to make sure they fit with the team dynamic."
Either way, while you can get a new technology job this summer, you'll be incredibly lucky to get a private equity job before Christmas, if ever. "It's not unusual for a private equity fund to go all the way through the interview process and to identify one person, before deciding that person isn't want they want and starting the whole process again," McManus adds.
Photo credit: the sideline by Flamin' Mo is licensed under CC BY 2.0.