The top four IT skills recruiters are looking for right now, and how these tally against investment banks’ recruitment needs

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As we’ve pointed to previously, working in a financial technology role within an investment bank is a relatively privileged position. Obviously, they’re not embarking on huge recruitment sprees, but the majority of jobs currently being advertised remain focused on IT.

So, what skills are recruiters currently looking for? Based on searches by recruiters and hiring managers on our UK CV database during August, we’ve compiled the following list of the most desirable IT skills. However, in reality, are the major banks actually recruiting for these skills?

1. Java:

Recruiters are looking for Java programmers, predominantly with a knowledge or experience of FX or fixed income, as well as J2EE and GUI experience. As we’ve mentioned previously, the key to gaining a job as a Java developer is being a cut above the competition and combining this with related programmes like Scala (a skill-set more banks are hiring for) as well as in-depth financial product knowledge.

The recruitment reality:  Positive. Most banks have a good number of vacancies for developers with Java skills, most significantly Citigroup, which has 25 roles (albeit predominantly in Belfast). Credit Suisse has 10 jobs in London, Goldman Sachs has two, Morgan Stanley has three vacancies and even UBS has six open jobs for Java developers currently. J.P. Morgan is recruiting in decent numbers, but these are largely restricted to Bournemouth or Glasgow.

2. Business analysts:

Regulatory initiatives are weighing heavily on the IT departments of investment banks, and many are shaking up their back office and data management functions because of more onerous reporting requirements. Naturally, this has resulted in a need to assess how this will affect the business, hence a surge in demand for business analysts. At least that’s the theory, and business analysts remain a much sought-after group.

The recruitment reality: Middling. Citigroup remains an active recruiter, but there are only a sparse number of positions (one or two) within the major banks including Morgan Stanley, UBS and Standard Chartered.

3. C++

C++ is, of course, one of the object oriented programming languages that most banks use to build their trading systems. In particular, recruiters are focused on searching for C++ skills combined with quants, suggesting that quant developers remain in demand.

The recruitment reality: Middling, as long as you’re a quant. Citi is recruiting for a good number of C++ quant development roles, across equities and credit, while J.P. Morgan is also hiring for around 15 positions and Morgan Stanley for a handful of positions. Bank of America also has a few vacancies for its risk IT team.

4. IT audit/security:

Financial services organisations are under attack from hackvists, cyber-criminals and, occasionally, their own staff, so it’s important to ensure they have the right security. IT security professionals, IT auditors and ethical hackers have been in demand for some time now and recruiters appear to be very keen to find people with these skill-sets.

The recruitment reality: Across the industry, there’s still healthy demand, with a number of financial services organisations actively hiring information security specialists. Within the major investment banks, however, the number of new positions is decidedly more muted than even six months ago. UBS and J.P. Morgan have vacancies, but that’s about it.

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