Much has been written - mostly by us - about the dearth of investment banking jobs on offer at the moment. Recruiters complain of rampant, relentless hiring freezes when they’d hoped for a thaw. Apparently there’s a lot of interviewing happening, but not much else.
And yet, even in this inhospitable environment, it seems there are some jobs that banks want to hire people for, but can’t. There are some jobs that banks have been advertising on their own websites for six months, or a year, or more.
We’ve been here before. As we observed last time we looked at banks’ job advertisements with long shelf lives, health warnings must be attached to attempts to read too much into them: maybe HR have simply forgotten they posted the job in question; maybe a line manager has accessed the system and posted a role which hasn’t actually been signed-off.
And yet, assuming that HR managers are on top of things and that line managers are forbidden from advertising jobs that don’t really exist, banks’ long term un-fillable jobs are instructive: these are the jobs where there’s a genuine ‘skills shortage’, or the jobs banks are so choosy about that they’re prepared to wait for precisely the right candidate.
Bank by bank, this is where there are issues:
Deutsche is looking for: “A highly quantitative team that focuses on Derivatives Exposure methodology for Credit and Counterparty risk.” It’s been looking for this person, who must have an Msc/Phd in a quantitative discipline and knowledge of commodity derivatives and strong project management experience since February 2011, which is probably a record.
It’s possible Deutsche has simply forgotten that it’s advertising this job. However, Jamie Brimage, risk management consultant at PSD Group, says counterparty risk management is certainly one of the understaffed areas of the moment. “There’s a shortage of very technical people with experience of working with expected positive exposure (EPE) and potential future exposure (PFE) models,” he says.
Goldman seems to have an issue with equities quant developers. It’s been advertising for, ‘quantitative developers to expand the Equity Derivatives desk's flow trading capabilities,’ since October 2011, we assume without success.
Are quant developers really that hard to come by? Hugo Sugden of recruitment firm GQR says they’re actually not, but that banks may not have sufficient experience of recruiting them. “If you’re a non-technical in-house recruiter it can be quite difficult to find the precise candidates line managers are looking for,” he speculates.
JPMorgan has been advertising for a VP level coal options trader with knowledge of,’ Global Coal and Dry Bulk Freight markets,’ since June 2011. Is it really that hard to find one? No, says the head of one commodities search firm – it’s just that coal traders are sceptical about joining investment banks. “Most coal traders would probably prefer to join a hedge fund or a physical player. Banks have a credibility issue – they need to persuade people that they’re serious about the business and that they can pay.
“The fact that there aren’t loads of decent coal traders out there looking for a job doesn’t make it any easier,” he says.
JPMorgan’s also been looking for a quantitative researcher since August 2011.