Wall Street Looks for More than a Few Good IT Pros in 2011

Susan Hall

Constance Melrose, managing director of eFinancialCareers North America, in a November interview talked about the increasing demand for tech talent on Wall Street. We talked then about the bonus expectations of IT pros, a topic fellow blogger Don Tennant followed up on. Basically, she said employers will have to pony up on the bonuses to keep top tech talent.


In a report issued more recently, technology topped the list of departments in which Wall Street firms expect to add staff in 2011. That's just one more way the New York IT job market remains hot. The report says:

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The diverse forces of algorithmic trading, additional regulatory scrutiny and complex infrastructures are creating outsized demand for Wall Street technology talent. After turning in the first quarter, technology job postings are up 75 percent year-over-year on eFinancialCareers. In fact, we are hearing about shortages of development talent in the northeast-particularly those with financial experience in trading, banking or investing operations.

Tennant put the salary premium for New York IT pros in financial services at 20 percent above other sectors. Melrose is quoted in this Forbes piece saying that demand and the fact that bonuses are not considered a sure thing have boosted base salaries. Meanwhile, in this Wall Street Journal article, analyst Glenn Schorr of investment bank Nomura says of bonuses:

We think 2010 will be a year of meaningful comp differentiation (meaning those that generated strong performance will get paid well, while underperformers will feel the pinch).

Bob Miano of job consultancy Harvey Nash told me that it's becoming increasingly difficult for IT pros to move into financial services from another vertical. But when Tennant asked how to do that, Melrose offered this advice:

I think you have to start with some of the larger firms first, because there will be more positions, and it's a place where you have a better chance of getting your foot in the door and developing some expertise. Another thing you can do is approach the buy-side, for example asset managers and investment managers. They have historically been more willing and more open to taking technology professionals who don't yet have that same level of financial expertise.

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