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Talent Trends in the Chicago Quants Market

Posted on December 2020 By Gareth Jones

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Proprietary Trading Firms in 2020 have had to react and adjust to the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, including hiring. Volatility in the financial markets has caused an increased demand for candidates in the Quantitative Research, Development, and Trading spaces. Firms have taken drastic steps forward to obtain and secure top talent in the industry, even with a majority of employees working remotely.

Chicago is home for the headquarters of many prop trading firms that compete with one another by utilizing top technology and efficient trading strategies. When there is a global event such as the Covid-19 pandemic, it is critical to be on top of the changing markets that have been generating unusually high returns. For instance, Options Market Making and Equity Volatility trading strategies have seen large profits due to the shifts in profit value. Companies have targeted recruiting individuals that specialize in these hot markets in an effort to improve and expand their operations.

The other area that has seen a major bounce-back has been cryptocurrency trading. A number of spin-offs and start-up trading firms, and hedge funds with a focus on crypto, have been popping up globally. These firms are quite open to hiring full-time remote candidates that are able to utilize infrastructure in order to generate PnL.

With this uptick in demand for quantitative trading talent, there has also been an increase in hiring for support staff across quantitative research, exchange connectivity development, machine learning, and strategy development to support incoming trading talent. What remains unchanged is the technical “bar” that a candidate will need to meet in order to receive an offer, while we see certain firms more open to shouldering risk in regard to traders – in part due to strong financial results in 2020.

It has been a year headlined with volatility, and 2021 is shaping up to be just as, if not busier in the prop trading industry. There are still question marks surrounding the US government administration, the oil & gas industry, and many other areas, but the outlook is positive and unique strategies will have the opportunity to capitalize on market volatility once again.

If you are looking to secure talent for your team in this rapidly growing market, get in touch with the Selby Jennings Chicago Team today.