Wall Street Hiring Sentiment Picks Up Gradually: MBA Graduates Survey

 @natrudy
on August 22 2013 10:30 AM
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Hiring sentiment on Wall Street is apparently picking up again, after years of gloomy job prospects during the financial crisis, according to a survey of 200 MBA students and graduates released Thursday.

Investment banks and consulting firms in particular are offering candidates more rounds of interviews, and many candidates are receiving several offers, according to the survey.

About 80 percent received a job offer, with 50 percent receiving multiple offers, and both numbers are up by about 10 percent from a similar survey done in 2010.

About half of those polled said major banks were actively recruiting them, with one third saying the same of consultants. Boutique banks and specialist financial advisors also reached out to candidates heavily.

71 percent of those surveyed said they went through four or more interviews, with 19 percent saying that they’d done more than ten interviews.

The summer survey, done by Wall Street training firm Training the Street, which shepherded about 25,000 trainees through its programs in 2012, focused on aspiring finance professionals from the top 30 U.S. business schools.

“The sentiment is starting to shift a little bit, with a positive bias,” said Scott Rostan, founder and CEO of the training firm, to International Business Times. “Especially with the investment banking professionals, M&A [mergers and acquisitions], leveraged finance, and equity coverage groups, the sense there is probably: ‘We need a few more people.’”

The recent sentiment shift isn’t as pronounced as the hiring spree in the late 90s, when the dotcom and telecom booms attracted droves of Wall Street workers, or from 2005 to 2008, when energy and private equity firms recruited heavily, Rostan said.

But compared to 2009 to 2011, a period when the financial industry remained especially cautious and nervous, Rostan said the new survey points to a gradual but growing shift.

“You aren’t seeing a market shift, but it is a steady interest over time,” Rostan said. “People are getting more offers, and people are more satisfied with their offers. As opposed to statistical data, this is more about mood and sentiment.”

“It’s not crazy. We are not going back to the boom years,” he continued. “But I think the bias is more positive leaning than negative leaning."

Rostan’s clients, which include major household banks, told him in the spring that they are hiring more entry-level analysts and associates than they'd projected and budgeted for at the end of 2012.

One major Wall Street bank, which Rostan declined to name, told him that the entire summer crop of investment banking interns received offers this summer, even though usually only 50 to 70 percent of interns receive offers.

“I think you’re probably going to see, the MBA hiring market, with hiring upwards of 5 to 10 percent, maybe even up 20 percent,” said Rostan.

Unsurprisingly, these candidates will be well-paid. According to the survey, 22 percent said they will earn between $50,000 to $70,000, while 68 percent said they’d receive between $76,000 and $125,000.

Three quarters of survey respondents were male, with almost 80 percent aged 26 to 34. 

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