Peter's Q3 2019 Market Report

2019 Q3 Summary


How to describe the current market? More of the same, banking is challenging, and there’s a steady rotation of technology talent away from investment banks to Buy side firms, FinTech, Big Tech, and startups. Citi is cutting, DB is still cutting, and Morgan Stanley has been frozen on hiring for over a year. One exception is Goldman, which is hiring aggressively in technology.

Hedge funds are also having a difficult year with $56b in net outflows YTD 2019, already 50% above 2018’s figure. As always, results vary widely across funds, and many of our hedge funds clients are currently hiring.

As for salaries, we continue to see a bifurcation in the market. There is strong demand and rising salaries for the most talented individuals and a challenging landscape for everyone else. The contract market is currently poor.

Despite the challenges, Affinity North has maintained a robust set of clients that are hiring aggressively. Even as we get close to year-end, we are currently working on more positions than we have all year. See below for current opportunities.

Business is about Technology

As technologists in financial services, being part of the business versus a cost center has always been a critical aspect of one’s value proposition. From the afore-linked article, Adam Korn, co-head of engineering in the trading division, “You are going to see us very actively in the marketplace going after this kind of talent. Historically, engineers were not seen as a part of the business. That’s obviously changed.” Good news for this audience. And there’s this.

Data Science

Not surprisingly, we’re seeing more and more data science roles. These positions fall into two categories. Most of the roles have a significant data development component. Data sourcing, cleaning, and storing is a significant requirement of these positions. We hear the same from our candidates, namely that jobs posted as Data Science positions usually involve more data development than actual data science. We see far fewer true Data Scientist roles, and these are typically reserved for PhD’s with significant experience in ML.

Salaries for Junior Developers are way up

What else can banks and hedge funds do? Big Tech has driven compensation for new/recent grads up significantly primarily by including a substantial stock grant that vests over time. The only way to compete with such offers is to offer higher base salaries and bonuses. The trend has been obvious this year.

Stack Overflow Salary Calculator

Here is the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator. What’s wrong with this picture? Experience is completely discounted! Salary increases are essentially equal to the rate of inflation. While this is only one company, I see this phenomenon broadly. Companies overpay for potential and underpay for experience.

Interview Preparation Quantified – sort of

One of our hiring managers gave me a very useful piece of advice to pass on to potential candidates. He said, “Our technical interviews are not hard.” (I don’t think everyone would agree with that) He went on, “If someone can complete LeetCode Medium questions in 20 minutes or less, they’ll do fine.” So there you have it, interview readiness defined. For this group anyway.


Above I try to generalize. However, we are currently inundated with a wide variety of interesting opportunities!

Current Priorities


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

  • Numerate Python Developer/Strat Fintech

  • Python Developer – Trading systems

  • Java Developer – Credit Fixed Income eTrading

Buy Side

  • Data Science Quantdev – New hedge fund

  • Lead convertibles Devquant – Leading hedge fund

  • Java Developer – Leading hedge fund – Compliance Technology

  • Network Engineer – Hedge Fund

  • Javascript/ReactJS Developer – Market data front-end – Large hedge fund startup

  • Data Developer – Security Master SME – Leading hedge fund

  • Data Developer Scraping/Cleaning/Storing – Leading hedge fund

  • Python Middleware Developer – Leading hedge fund

  • C++ Developer – Fixed Income ETF trading – Leading hedge fund

  • Java Developer (Contract) - Market Data SME - Leading asset manager

  • Full-stack Engineer – C++, Javascript/ReactJS – Prop trading

  • Low-latency C++ Lead Developer - Prop trading

Sell Side

  • Java full-stack Developer – Fixed Income eTrading Strategies

  • C++ - Mid-Senior Equity ETrading Platform Developer

  • Python Developer - Equity eTrading Tooling and Instrumentation

  • Javascript/ReactJS Developer – Strategic product delivery

  • Java Developer – Securities Lending IT

  • Java Developer – Collateral management/optimization

  • Java eTrading Developer (Contract) - Mid-market IB

  • ETF Desk developer – Java/Python - Mid-market IB

  • Quant/Strat – Equity Fundamental Strategies

  • Trading Systems Support – Equities IT