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Desperado quants go for gambling and defence

Times are still not good for junior quants and mathematical PhDs who aspire to work in investment banks. With banks pulling back from complexity, there’s less need for their talents.

Mark Davis, a professor of maths at Imperial College, says lots of his students still want to work in finance, but they’re also being forced to contemplate defence, pharmaceutical work, and the consultancy branches of accountancy firms.

One recruiter says quants who can’t get into financial services are also to be found in “systematic gambling” at the likes of Betfair and Ladbrokes, where they analyze data in the same way hedge funds do.

Although banks’ hiring freeze appears to be thawing in some other areas, the recruiter says junior quants are an exception to the rule. “It’s very difficult to get into this space as a junior at the moment. They only want senior guys that won’t be a draw on resources until they’re up to speed.”

John Docherty, head of defence appointments at recruitment firm CBS Butler, says defence companies are seeking to take advantage of this: “There are very few people who have studied maths academically and who have defence experience. My clients are forced to look at other sectors, and one of those is banking and finance.”

Docherty makes defence sound exciting. He says defence quants build simulated environments for testing new weapons used by the SAS. However, there’s a catch: “You can earn significantly more in the City,” says Docherty; salaries in defence are rarely more than 40k.

Comments (11)

Comments
  1. Gambling, maybe as theoretically, one can exploit their prices and seek out arbitrage opportunities. But defence?! Maybe for the intellectual stimulation.

    Mr. Frank White Reply
     
  2. “Mark Davis, a professor of maths at Imperial College, says lots of his students still want to work in finance, but they’re also being forced to contemplate defence, pharmaceutical work, and the consultancy branches of accountancy firms. “…
    … sounds awful… the next generation of the brightest mathmeticians will have to work on cures on defence systems or finding cures for diseases instead of dreaming up ever more complex derivative packaging to hide bad mortgage debt…

    … will society ever recover?

  3. Is Ladbrokes the new Goldman Sachs?

    Douche got their first Reply
     
  4. Ladbrokes aren’t recruiting!

  5. I think defence and pharmaceutical work are more meaningful than the complex derivative cr@p to the society. Even data research in systematic gambling in casino is better. God knows what kind of WMD will be produced by those “best and brightest” again.

    Sorry but this is our fate. We are going to create a second bubble and no alternatives.

  6. Yeah Bryant, watch out for the placepot crunch hitting racetracks across the land.

    Non runners and donkeys being packaged in toxic accumulators and complex derivatives based on underlying greyhounds! “Nobody knows who owns what!” said Stan James

  7. Why would any mathematician or theoretical physicist with a PhD want to work for defence industry for less than 40k? Academic institutions offer more fun and better pay!

  8. “You can earn significantly more in the City,” says Docherty (Truth)
    salaries in defence are rarely more than 40k. (Fallacy)
    Even Engineers without PhDs can make up to 100k per annum as contractors in the Aerospace and Defence sectors, working 45hrs per week. And the contractual period could be anything between 12months to 5 years.

  9. This is a very sad news to the industry. Chances have frozen out and there is no room for juniors anymore. Companies should think long term and make provisions for that. This is the only advice i have for them. Those who do not, will pay the price in a few years.

  10. Niv you will be hard pressed to find a contract lasting more than 12 months in todays climate – Docherty is speaking the truth one feels! Contractors rarely work more than 2 years in a contract these days due to IR 35 regulations…

  11. I am Docherty and I speak the truth but was misquoted! You can earn more than 40k in the defence sector, 50-65k+ is not uncommon. Like many industries, once you are an established expert you can go contracting and earn double this. Contracts are typically 3-6 months long but are often extended.

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