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Five Hiring Strategies Funds Should Use to Lure Quant Talent

Posted on September 2020

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Quantitative analysts (or quants) have quickly become some of the most vital workers in the financial sector. Using a sound understanding of elaborate mathematical models, quant analysts are able to price securities using algorithms built to minimize risks and maximize profits on investments. These algorithms, built using Big Data and pattern analysis, have transformed investment banking, making quant talent extremely important. 

Quant analysts require a trifecta of specialist skill sets to do their job: mathematics, technology and finance. Even entry-level quant analysts require a high level of degree to start a career building models for hedge funds, investment banks and asset management firms. 

Because of these requirements, quant talent can command very high salaries, and the competition to net exceptional quants is fierce. 

The Battle For Quant Talent

There simply aren’t enough data scientists available to meet the demand coming from numerous sectors - with more joining the call for analysts every day as ‘industry 4.0’ emerges. 

This means firms must be creative when it comes to enticing brilliant quant talent. Those with exceptional data analysis and computer programming skills design algorithms which can automate investments and change the game for many firms, and it is well worth investing in hiring strategies to attract and nurture quants. 

Use these five hiring strategies to attract the best quant talent in the market. 

Target Women

The overwhelming majority of quantitative analysts are men, and female talent is often overlooked when seeking quants. This is due to a mixture of unconscious bias and female quantitative analysts feeling discouraged from applying for roles. 

Recruitment pushes which target women and focus on diversity in their messaging will attract those candidates who feel less confident in applying for quant roles.  

Firms now run recruitment programs where candidates are asked not to submit resumes with information which may influence unconscious or implicit bias, but instead are asked to build financial prediction models based on existing data. Hiring in this ‘blind’ way which focuses purely on performance helps encourage a more diverse range of applications and will help you uncover those quant gems who bring huge value to your firm and investors. 

Seek Entry-Level Quant Talent

The best quantitative analysts are those who have the data and numbers to back them up - just like the job itself, achievements and the level of talent can be very clearly shown in performance data. However, because of the level of competition, there is also huge value in seeking those who are looking for their first opportunity as a quant analyst. 

Build a university campus recruitment and partnership strategy, aiming for those educational institutions which hold a good reputation for producing quant talent. This grassroots approach will help you engage talent right at the start of their careers and will keep your firm’s name in the head of dozens of promising graduates. 

Entry-level quant roles still command high salaries, but in offering a role where you can promise personal development, you will entice promising talent who can make an immediate impact. 

Call For A Wide Range of Talent

Adapting a draw-in rather than a pull-in strategy will pick up exceptional quant talent which you hadn’t considered. Though headhunting those with degrees from elite universities and experience at top firms is the traditional method, using other hiring strategies can also encourage quant talent to come to you. 

Larger funds now hold open events for quant talent to show off their practical skills for a chance to be considered for roles. You can broaden your talent funnel by holding data analysis challenges and competitions with attractive prizes. Those who impress based on their performance can then be considered to add to your existing talent pipeline. This approach helps make your roles more accessible to those who hold the skills you need, even if they don’t hold a fancy degree.  

Build Talent Pipelines

The quant analysis skills shortage isn’t going to become a surplus any time soon, so it is vital to build a hiring strategy which keeps brilliant quant talent close to hand for when you need it. Building a talent pipeline within your company means taking advantage of the passive talent pool.

Say you advertise for a quantitative analyst role and you have fifty applicants, and twelve of those applicants made it through to the next stage of interviews. Though you only have one role, you have now identified eleven candidates who you believe would be a good fit for the role you have advertised. Instead of discarding those resumes, instead, feed them into your talent pipeline. Unsuccessful candidates may become vital talent acquisitions in the near future. 

Though building a talent pipeline takes some initial investment and time, it will soon become one of the best quant hiring tools at your disposal. This is a long-term approach, also used by recruiters, to build an existing pool of quant talent to feed from when roles become available. This approach also leads to higher-quality hires, as you can approach those candidates who hold the strengths you need at that point in time. 

Advertise Roles As Tech Focused

The best way to attract tech-focused staff is to pitch yourself as a tech-focused company. Research the culture, perks and benefits which attracts brilliant quant talent. Quants are passionate about using data analysis and scientific approaches, and often need the environment to support that. 

Cultures inspired by those of Silicon Valley, with a focus on technology, flexible working, collaborative workspaces and heavy investment in emerging technologies will entice quants with intellectual curiosity and a passion to innovate. 

Do you need support in finding your next quants hire? Contact the Selby Jennings team today.

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