Hiring improvement seems plausible in the Fall – not 2004

NEW YORK, June 11 – New jobs and increased hiring in the Information Technology (IT) sector of the financial services industry is foreseen taking place this fall, according to a poll released here today.

Better than 75 per cent of the respondents to a survey undertaken by NationStaff, Inc., a New York-based strategic executive search and management-consulting firm that specializes in identifying IT staff for the financial services sector, felt the job hemorrhaging in financial services will end in the third quarter and not in 2004 as many anticipated. Even so, companies will keep a tight lid on salary increases, stock options and bonuses, which are traditional in the Wall Street environment.

Perhaps more significantly, the straw poll which canvassed IT managers, business managers, and senior human resource managers at major brokerage houses and investment firms in the tri-state New York region, found that business groups are now assuming the (hiring) responsibility – from the IT managers – and calling the shots.

"In short, centralized IT managers are losing their power," analyzed Ed Guy, managing partner of NationStaff. "In a profit stressed environment, the business lines that are making money are using their clout to take the lion’s share of IT resources both in terms of human and technical capital. We saw that business lines are demanding to become more involved and more centrally involved. There has been an effort to outsource and have a bigger say as to which projects get done and how they are getting completed in a limited resource environment."

The survey yielded other noteworthy conclusions:

- IT, fixed income and trading positions are likely to become available – more so than equity, research, marketing and derivatives.

- Sixty per cent felt bonuses would be flat or less than 10 per cent this year.

- Benefits are being pared, with educational allowances and stock options taking the greatest hits. Most respondents (60 per cent) did not see the need for an advanced degree; 40 per cent felt otherwise and evenly divided between an MBA and MS degree.

- Fixed income as a business line will get more capital to build advanced platforms to the detriment of equity, risk and derivative products.

"Companies are becoming more responsive to their client needs," concluded Mr. Guy. "We have found that companies are making it easier and cheaper for institutional clients to use their front and back office offerings. We are seeing a great deal of technology being used to track e-mails, trade attribution, historical trending, etc., to cope with present and future compliance issues."

The NationStaff poll was conducted via the Internet and by telephone from May 20 to June 4 with the last returned questionnaire received on June 9, 2003. A pool of 300 was identified and 75 questionnaires returned, representing a 25 per cent response rate. All were treated anonymously.

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