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Tech Market Review

About our Tech Recruitment Team

The Selby Jennings Financial Technology team is one of the longest-serving and most successful divisions in the company’s history and is the only team to have active consultants recruiting in every office globally, seven of which are based here in the United States. They have a vast team of specialist consultants operating across a handful of core markets which include Software Engineering, Data Science & Analytics, Infrastructure & Support, Creative Technology and Business Technology and have proven to be one of the most sought after agencies for many of the world’s most prestigious financial institutions. They have also played an incredibly integral part in the recent awards of Best Hedge Fund Recruitment Firm by HFM and Best Recruitment Firm at the 2020 Hedge week US Awards.

Tech Market Review

The Selby Jennings Technology recruitment team have put together a brief overview covering compensation bands and common trends they have seen across Financial Services this past year. As a business, we believe in adding value not just by providing our clients with top notch talent, but also providing valuable market intel. There is no question that Engineering talent is some of the most sought out talent today. For this reason, we wanted to disclose what we are seeing in the market as it pertains to compensation, demand, and more importantly, the overall candidate experience.

Compensation

In regard to compensation we have not seen a decline in compensation expectations or offers on both the candidate and client side. The market remains competitive and we have only seen decreases in compensation ranges for institutions that are expanding outside of financial hubs – such as NY. For example: Dallas & Austin, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle and more. In such cases, we are finding the compensation differences of about $20-$30K compared to NYC salaries.

NYC - Banking Clients


In NYC - Banking clients, we are typically seeing compensation in the following ranges:

      • Junior (0–3 YOE) 120K–160K TC

      • Mid (4–7 YOE) 160K–200K TC

      • Senior (7+ YOE) 180K–250K TC

NYC - Buy side Clients

In NYC - Buy side clients, this can fluctuate massively depending on the company caliber of talent, we are seeing;

Developer Compensation
      • Junior (0–3 YOE) 130K–300K TC

      • Mid (4-7 YOE) 200K–310K TC

      • Senior (7+ YOE) 335K–450K TC

DevOps Developer Compensation
      • Junior (0-3 YOE) 140K–225K TC

      • Mid (4-7 YOE) 190K–275 K TC

      • Senior (7+ YOE) 235K–430 K TC

SRE Compensation
      • Junior (0-3 YOE) 140K–225 K TC

      • Mid (4-7 YOE) 200K–275K TC

      • Senior (7+ YOE) 350K–450K TC

Project Manager Compensation
      • Junior PM’s (0-3 YOE) 130K–175K TC

      • Mid (4-7 YOE) 250K–400K TC

      • Senior PM’s, particularly coming from big tech 7–10 years’ experience) can earn 500K–1m. This is dependent on the product they’ve launched, ownership, and how hands on they are with it.

Demand for Talent

The overall demand for technology talent throughout 2020 has been very steady. While the year has certainly been tougher than usual for many businesses, most would agree that falling behind on the execution of key technology agendas would only make life more difficult. Mid-High Frequency Firms – who thrive off volatility – have accelerated technology hiring to capitalize on growth opportunities. As have many FinTech companies and consumer groups in digital banking due to increased demand. However, more traditional firms with longer-term investment horizons have slowed down significantly, although we are starting to see a slight uptick at the backend of the year.

In Demand Skillsets

Data engineering remains a growth area for several of our clients. As global markets have continued to shift aggressively, the increased need for better, cleaner, more accessible data is paramount to form better market predictions. There has also been a strong desire for industry talent. Given the barriers to a job move caused by COVID – we are seeing higher acceptance ratios for candidates with finance experience.

Across infrastructure we have seen an uptick in cloud engineering as more and more clients have had to make the shift towards virtual cloud environments in response to
COVID. This need to be remote has also caused many buy-side clients to expand & enhance their support engineering staff to ensure everything is running smoothly. SRE is another area that has held steady in 2020, as most of our clients are now looking to bring on full scale teams within this space.

Working from Home

Almost every single one of our financial services clients have implemented a strict work from home policy which has continued to remain mandatory throughout the year. For the most part, all financial institutions plan to have their workforce return to the office at some stage as many believe this is integral to their company culture, despite
having seen steady productivity levels throughout the remote operation. However, a majority have not provided a detailed plan and / or date as to when this will happen, and many are now considering full-time remote work until a vaccine has been approved. Several firms have already provided an optional return policy, limiting capacity to 15-20%, but this seems to mainly be utilized by younger employees with smaller accommodation situations and no family responsibilities.

Candidate Sentiments…on exploring the market & making a move

Our view is that candidates were more open to exploring the market at the initial onset of COVID in March and April of this year given the uncertainty in the market around job security and the news of multiple layoffs. However, as time went on candidates became more risk averse to making a move once they felt they had ‘survived’ the
rounds of layoffs
. Moreover, while working remotely provided more flexibility to interview, we saw a significant increase in candidate’s rejecting offers to simply stay in their current role. In essence, if the opportunity was not deemed ‘a chance of a lifetime’ then many felt it was best to sit tight and wait to see how the pandemic played out.
While these sentiments are predominantly anecdotal from our perspective, to add statistical value to this idea we saw a flat percentage in offers made but a 27% decrease in offers accepted compared to 2019.

…on the interview process

We have heard mixed feedback from candidates on the virtual interview process as the more risk-averse candidates have been concerned about taking on an opportunity where they have yet to meet the interviewers and team members face-to face. Similarly, many of our candidates and particularly those coming from Silicon Valley have been more reserved in their commitment to move having not seen the office surroundings in person. The institutions that have put the most effort into creating a seamless and personal interview process have been most successful in tapping into such talent. We consulted with some our candidates and gathered feedback on the virtual interview and onboarding process. We wanted to put together a few key points from our conversations:

  • Number of Interviews: Typically, we see a 4-stage interview process across Engineering, a 3 step process garnered very positive feedback and anything more than 4 steps was deemed as not standard and too lengthy.

  • Length of Interview Process: Processes typically average about 5 weeks, processes that took 4 weeks received very positive feedback and anything longer than 6 weeks was deemed as not standard. Often candidates across engineering will have multiple ongoing processes with various clients and those that are able to move the quickest are put in a better position to win this talent.

  • Communication: Candidates voiced communication as instrumental throughout the interview process. Clients that were transparent about the process garnered the best feedback, those that were not communicative and went radio silent were viewed as unorganized and uninterested to the candidates. In terms of onboarding, a call with HR or the HM before start date was often requested and appreciated by many candidates especially due to this now being virtual.

  • Other suggestions: Some companies have acclimated well to the new virtual environment by providing additional steps to the interview process like virtual tours, virtual happy hours and etc., The more unique the experience, the better it was received by candidates.

…on the current remote-based working policy

On the one hand, many candidates have been very happy with the virtual environment and working from home as it has helped increase productivity in many ways. Removing the commute time, allowing better access to cheaper and healthier food options as well as reducing unnecessary distractions have all contributed to a more sound work environment for many engineers. On the other hand, and certainly for those who are used to operating in a hightouch, highly collaborative trading environment, some have struggled to communicate with team members in the productive ways they had before. Not to mention the fact that we have many people finding it difficult to separate work from downtime as it all seems to be happening under one roof.

As mentioned, the eventual goal for most businesses is to get back people back into the office and collaborating together in person as much as possible but clients should be wary of their approach to demanding this when it’s deemed safe to return. A slow and steady approach to getting people back together is advised as many will appreciate getting back to work but some will want to do what they can to keep some of the benefits of being able to operate remotely.

A review on flexibility to work from home is strongly advised as this will not only please existing employees but also continue to add appeal to incoming talent.

What’s next?

Judging by the recent activity at the backend of this year, in addition to many of the conversations we have had with our clients across the industry, we are anticipating a very big year ahead with regards to technology hiring for 2021. Core Developers with exceptional skills across all predominant object oriented programming languages
are highly sought-after and this is an area that we continue to make over 100+ placements in every single year. We have also continued to see a huge shift on the creative technology side of things and Front-End and Full-Stack talent seems to be an ever-growing area of need as the demand for more aesthetic and user-friendly software remains paramount for many businesses. On the infrastructure side, DevOps and SRE functions are continuing to scale at a rapid rate while Production Engineers are also being utilized heavily in creating a more fluid and optimized technology environment. We are even seeing a significant shift in traditional Software Engineers making a move into these reliability functions as they allow them to be more impactful at times while continuing to leverage their programming skills. This function is no longer seen as predominantly operational. With the expansion to remote ensuring strong networks has been vital to the success of our clients, as such we anticipate enhanced growth in the network engineering space. The Cloud and leveraging hybrid-analytics also seems to be a key area of investment for many businesses so we anticipate a huge uptick in Cloud Infrastructure hiring over the next 12-18 months.

About us

Selby Jennings is a leading specialist recruitment agency for banking and financial services. For more than 15 years, we have given clients and candidates peace of mind that the recruitment process is in expert hands. Our continual investment in best-in-class technologies and consultant training enables us to recruit with speed, precision and accuracy. Today, Selby Jennings provides permanent, contract and multi-hire recruitment from our global hubs all over the world. We pride ourselves in keeping our professional network up-to-date with any changes that will shape the future of work or affect the hiring process. Visit our website to discover more invaluable insights, including exclusive research, salary guides and market trends.