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Quant Trading Market Update: Hiring Trends For 2021 + Beyond

Quant funds are having a record-breaking year, bolstered by the market volatility due to the pandemic, a pullback on stimulus measures, and slower economic growth. These gains have created a tremendous number of hiring needs across top tier funds, and as we head into Q4 and look toward the new year, this trend is only going to continue.

“It’s been a banner year for our clients in the systematic and quant trading space,” says Robert Quatroni, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division who specializes in Quantitative/Systematic markets. “This has led to an unprecedented amount of hiring, even during the summer months when we typically experience a lull. Instead, it’s been full steam ahead. Our clients have the capital to grow, and are eager to build out the teams they need to put their plans into action.”

What is happening in hiring across quant trading? Continue reading for trends to look out for as you navigate your next career move.

Top positions + skills in demand

Quantitative hedge funds and proprietary trading firms are both in a strong position for growth, and are in need of specialists with skills in quantitative finance, software development and algorithmic trading. They are hiring across the group, with some of the most in-demand positions including:

  • Portfolio Managers
  • Quant Traders
  • Quant Researchers
  • Quant Developers

Portfolio Managers and Quant Traders should be experienced in the full spectrum of strategy development including hypothesis, analysis, back-testing, implementation, and trading. “In addition to a proven track record on deployable Equity and Futures strategies, many of our clients are looking for specific experience in Volatility and Credit,” advises Robert. “Candidates with experience in the latter two asset classes are getting more attention.”

Quant Researchers and Developers should have a strong programming background and familiarity with mathematical techniques. “Python is among one of the most in-demand programming languages to systematic and quant trading funds,” says Robert. “Experience with C++ can also help set you apart, along with any additional programming skills you have mastered.”

A candidate-driven market

Strong performance gains and asset flows have resulted in a job market that is very advantageous to quant talent. “As firms look to scale, the demand for quants will only continue to trend up,” says Robert. “This has created a very tight, competitive market for employers—leading to stronger and more enticing offers.”

The surplus of job openings also gives quants the ability to be more selective when making career decisions. “You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your quant trading career,” says Robert. “With more opportunities available, you can be more intentional with your job search—especially when it comes to deciding between stand-alone and team environments.”

New opportunities to transition from the sell side

On a related note, there has also been a tremendous surge in funds hiring traders from banks. “Historically speaking, this is a very challenging transition,” says Robert. “However, due to the candidate-driven market and the surplus of capital that is available for these firms to deploy, their interest in sourcing talent from the sell side has increased considerably.”

Read also: Do You Have What It Takes To Make It In Quant Trading?

Post-covid workplace trends

While most firms have moved to a total remote work environment during the pandemic, you can expect to see two types of workplace environments emerge as we settle into a new normal:

  1. Full-time return to the office: There are many firms that think there is a real downside to remote work when it comes to productivity, company culture, training and development, and building relationships with colleagues. These firms will eventually plan on requiring all their employees to come back to the office full-time.
  2. Hybrid-remote: Firms that have proven they can operate in a remote capacity efficiently, but want an in-person element will opt to go for a hybrid-remote work schedule—at least until the pandemic is further behind us.

“There was a lot uncertainty around how things would unfold at the onset of the pandemic,” says Robert. “Now, many quant trading firms believe it’s time to get back to business as usual. Some clients are trying a hybrid environment on a trial-basis, but most quants should be prepared to be back in the office at some point.”

 In short, the future is bright for those building a career in quant trading! Even if you are not actively looking, there is no harm in exploring the market to see what’s out there. If you make it to an interview round, here are some additional resources on how to approach quant trading and analysis interviews.

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