You Want a Mid Level Job in the Hedge Fund Industry

This may not be the time. While it is true that hedge fund starts are outpacing closures, the fact is, new hedge fund firms are not likely to be in the market for hedge fund professionals in the middle stages of their careers.

Why?

Because the majority of startups are firms seeded by established funds, senior colleagues are brought over to the new fund and the focus, necessarily, is on junior level hires. This is the reason most newly launched firms are usually on the hunt for experienced, early-career-stage professionals, although there are opportunities for senior level people who have the ability to draw clientele…rainmakers.

Operational hires typically come from the ranks of experienced professionals that have proven their ability to generate revenue and are not overly risk averse. This means senior level people who then hire junior level staff to mentor. Hedge funds are more inclined to hire less expensive junior staff that they can rotate as necessary rather than hiring mid-level staff with specific sector/industry experience.

This staffing philosophy holds true with back and front office staffing. Hires will include senior managers and junior staff, but mid-level staffing is deferred.

Where Are the Best Opportunities?

As stated earlier, opportunities for junior level staff abound, but perhaps the best opportunities in the industry at present are for those with hard-science degrees, which include mathematicians, engineers and developers. Quantitative traders and analysts are in high demand, as are programmers with expertise in MatLab, SQL, Java, Hadoop, Q, kdb+, C#, C++, HTML5, Python and R, and other programming languages such as Julia, whose growth rate is impressive, with hedge funds being foremost among early-adopters.

It is important to recognize the developing interest fundamental hedge fund firms are showing in artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data. A number of funds pursuing a fundamental investment strategy have shown a keen interest in blending quantitative strategies with existing fundamental strategies, which creates an even larger market for the skill sets identified earlier. These blended strategies have been dubbed ‘quantamental’.

As greater numbers of hedge fund firms launch hybrid quantamental funds, there has been a substantial increase in data science hires from academia and from Silicon Valley. Quantamental firms are also showing interest in candidates with artificial intelligence and/or machine learning experience, capable of helping portfolio managers make investment decisions.

Final Thoughts

While mid-level hedge fund professionals may be best served by concentrating their efforts on earning a promotion at their present firm, those at the junior level, those with hard-science degrees and those with programming skills are currently in the best position to find placement in a hedge fund firm.

The hedge fund industry has witnessed extraordinary growth in quantitative strategies and now appears poised to see similar growth in quantamental strategies. The result is that in the current job market, opportunities for employment are peaking for junior level professionals and for those with hard-science skills.

For those with a combination of junior level and quantitative skills, the world is your oyster.

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