If you're applying for a front office banking job in London now, then good luck. It's never easy getting a sales and trading or investment banking division (IBD) in the fourth quarter, but as London banks brace for Brexit and banks globally look for a different profile of candidate, it's become harder than ever.
Just how hard is illustrated by the kinds of jobs currently being advertised in London by nine international banks (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, UBS, BNP Paribas). In combination, these banks presently have around 1,800 jobs open. However, nearly 40% of their vacancies are for technologists, quants or strats. If you don't fall into these categories, then bad luck.
The distribution of jobs by bank is illustrated in the chart below. If you want to work for Goldman Sachs or UBS, especially, in the UK right now, it will help to be a technologist, quant or strat (but mostly a technologist). Engineering and skills will also go far at JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Citi's UK operations.
Goldman Sachs and UBS's enthusiasm for hiring technologists in London comes despite both banks having big technology and operations hubs in Poland. Goldman Sachs already employs 670 people in Warsaw and plans to add another 300 in the coming years. UBS employs people in both Krakow and Wroclaw - including its mainframe and mid-range engineering team. For the moment, however, Goldman Sachs is advertising far more engineering jobs in London than in Warsaw, where it has fewer than 40 engineering vacancies.
At other banks, not all jobs in the UK are in London. If you want a technology job at J.P. Morgan, for example, you could also apply to Bournemouth or Glasgow, where 42 and 75 of the bank's current UK technology vacancies are based. However, London looks like J.P. Morgan's technology centre too - the bank is currently advertising over 100 technology vacancies in the City.
Unlike client-facing and trading jobs, technology jobs in banking should not be forced into Europe because of Brexit. London's long term source of competitive advantage may therefore yet be its expertise in financial technology - as long as technologists from the EU can still be persuaded to come and work here.