Peter's Q4 2018 Market Report

2018 Q4 Summary

Happy New Year!


In Q4 I often try to communicate what we expect in Q1 of the following year. This year? Forget about it. Given the recent market volatility, uncertainty with the global economic outlook, and the current administration, nobody has any idea what to expect in 2019… That being said, we always have active clients and robust demand for top technical people, so please be in touch in 2019 to discuss options.

Technology in NYC

Amazon HQ2 was the big news a few weeks ago for the NYC area, but Amazon is only part of the story regarding technology jobs in New York. Google’s recent announcement that it is doubling its NYC footprint hardly drew any attention, but it is equally big news for the IT job market. Financial companies are already competing for developers with Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others, and it looks like the competition will only intensify in the coming years. While hiring in the financial sector has been reasonably robust over the past few years, it is clearly the technology companies that that have been driving salaries in New York for the past few years. Banks and hedge funds are now competing more with technology than with each other for top technical talent.

Emerging Jobs

LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report 2018 doesn’t include many surprises, and it quantifies what we’ve seen anecdotally in the job market in the past year or two. Three of the top 5 Emerging Jobs are in the trendy areas of Machine Learning and Blockchain:

·         Blockchain Developer
·         Machine Learning Engineer
·         Machine Learning Specialist

What’s the difference between ML Engineer and ML Specialist? Nothing, as far as I can tell! And honestly, this is precisely why I started Affinity North. The recruiting industry in general has a difficult time understanding technical jobs. While it can be hard to keep up with technology, we at Affinity North come from technical backgrounds, and we do our best to understand the roles we work on and represent them accurately. As for Blockchain and ML, I expect we’ll see many more of these kinds of jobs in 2019. Look which firm currently has the most Blockchain patents.

High demand for Data Engineers

Everybody knows that data is king these days. This translates to a high demand for data engineering. Almost every client of ours is working on improving their data platforms as a priority. Engineers who know how to leverage the latest technologies to build robust, scalable, data platforms are in very high demand.

The Fourth Hiring Trait

The famous three attributes for evaluating candidates – attitude, aptitude, and experience – are well known. It’s commonly discussed that you can succeed without experience, but you can’t succeed without either of the other 2 qualities. Warren Buffet prioritizes a different attribute – Integrity, and you can’t really argue with his logic.

Tom Searcy with CBS Money Watch offers this summary:

·         Hire someone with high energy, high intelligence, but low integrity and you'll get a smart, fast-moving thief

·         Hire someone with high intelligence, high integrity, but low energy and you'll get a shopkeeper, not an engine of growth

·         Hire someone with high energy, high integrity, but low intelligence and you'll get a strong functionary, but not a great problem solver or visionary

It’s interesting to note these statistics from

·         46 percent of new hires will fail within 18 months

·         Only 19 percent of new hires will succeed over the long term

·         Of those that don’t last, a full 89 percent lose their jobs due to something involving their attitude or personality (lack of coachability, poor emotional intelligence, poor motivation, or a bad temperament)

·         Only 11 percent of new hire failures lose their jobs due to technical incompetence

All these studies are broader than our practice and need to be taken with a grain of salt. We work in rarified air where only the very smartest people with great attitudes thrive, and very high-level technical skills are absolutely required. However, a particular technical skill or experience is rarely a requirement, if the individual has general experience in the area and significant technical smarts.

Is Fintech Failing?

This article by Chris Meyers, a Fintech startup founder, is a good overview of the state of the industry.

A Break for Students (and Parents)

Goldman and JP Morgan in recent years had moved up the recruitment process to sophomore year. However, they have recently stopped the practice, and have gone back to recruiting during junior year. Several reasons were cited including the practice being disruptive to students, pressure from universities, and the fact that it wasn’t yielding a diverse candidate pool.


We expect to see a large influx of new openings over the next couple of months. This list will change rapidly in 2019. Please stay in touch.

Current Priorities


  • Go/AWS/Javascript Developer – Software engineer to build new state of the art clearing system

Buy Side

  • Java or C# Developer – Leading asset mgr – Risk Attribution – Contract

  • Java or C# Developer – Leading asset mgr – Development of new Portfolio Rebalancing system

  • Java Developer – Leading hedge fund – Compliance Technology

  • Junior/Mid Python Developer – research platform – new algo fund @leading asset mgr

  • Python Data Engineer – Hedge fund – NYC or Dallas

  • Lead C++ Developer – HFT/low-latency - prop trading

  • C++ Analytics Developer – quant team - Leading asset mgr

Sell Side

  • Java or C++ - Senior Equity ETrading Platform Developer

  • Java or C++ - Senior Equity Algo Trading Developer

  • KDB/Java/JavaScript Developer – Credit Strats – Contract/Fulltime

  • KDB Developer – Credit Strats – Contract

  • Javascript Developer – Credit Strats – Contract

  • DevOps – Tools Developer

  • DevOps – Release Engineer

  • DevOps – Trading Systems Frontline Support

  • Lead Data Engineer = Fixed Income StratsLeading investment bank

  • NLP Expert – SPG IT – Contract