Here's where Wall Street is hiring even as layoffs and hiring slowdowns take hold, according to 14 recruiters

  • Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and BNY kicked off 2023 with layoffs affecting as many as 5,000 workers.
  • It’s not all bleak. Some hedge funds, wealth managers, and asset managers are still hiring.
  • Recruiters told us what roles are in demand and what skills can help you land them.

The employees market for jobs is over.

The red-hot labor market is well off its boiling point, as recession fears loom and employers cut back on costs. Layoffs across industries have been dominating headlines in January, and Wall Street has been no exception.

Goldman laid off roughly 3,000 employees, or 6% of its total headcount. The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, cut 500 roles on the same day. BNY Mellon followed by trimming its workforce by 1,500 jobs.

Whether they’ve been burned by bad bonuses or caught up in layoffs, plenty of finance folks are looking for jobs, said Simon Lewis, a managing partner and founder of SLA Executive Search.

“Some candidates are concerned there may be more layoffs coming around,” he told Insider. “So they want to get ahead of the curve and get out interviewing before the next round of rifts come, probably at the end of Q1.”

Insider spoke with 14 recruiters across the finance industry to find out which roles they’re trying to fill, which jobs are likely to be hot in the recession, and which skills candidates should have.

Here’s what they had to say…

… if you’re in or interested in investment banking

More layoffs could be coming for investment bankers as banks catch up with “the slow-motion car crash” of investment-banking revenue being down, according to Julian Bell, a senior investment banking headhunter and head of Americas for executive search firm Sheffield Haworth. Investment banking revenue fell 48% at Goldman from a year ago and 49% at Morgan Stanley.

And though bankers might not have the bargaining power they did in 2021 when the IPO market was roaring,72% of 1,096 bankers at top-tier firms surveyed on the professional-social-networking site Fishbowl said they would consider resigning if their company cut bonuses.

Bell, who mainly places very senior bankers, said that a range of other full-service competitors and M&A boutiques, such as Truist among the US banks and Mizuho among the foreign banks, are still hiring. Demand for top talent is still a priority for firms, and some of those that had paused searches are already restarting.

Candidates searching for new roles within investment banking will have to be very patient and prepared.

“Any job interview you go to, you are just going to have to be on your A game — be extremely well versed in what the firm is doing, and be very well prepared, because it’s extremely competitive to get these jobs,” Lewis said.

Lewis, whose firm mostly focuses mainly on mid- and senior-level searches, says his firm is seeing hiring activity for bankers specialized in industrials, power and renewables, healthcare, and general tech-enabled services like IT and cybersecurity.

Young candidates looking to break into investment banking would be remiss in thinking it’s New York or nowhere, as more traditional firms will be competitive to get into.

Lewis said job seekers should have an open mind about where they want to live and the type of firm they’ll go to. “It may not be the brand that everyone knows, but you may actually get some very good experience at some of these mid-market investment banks that are very focused on M&A,” he said. There are jobs in cities like Chicago or Los Angeles, and investment banks in Austin and Nashville have been reaching out to Lewis, especially those in healthcare.

… if you’re in or interested in hedge funds

Multistrategy hedge funds had a banner year in 2022, as did macro managers. Big-name hedge funds like Citadel, D. E. Shaw, and Millennium Management posted double digits in a year that many other investment managers would rather soon forget.

Multistrats are “voracious acquirers of talent,” said Ilana Weinstein, the CEO of IDW Group and a headhunter for top hedge funds, adding that it’s where talent and capital are vying to be.

Ilana Weinstein, the CEO of IDW Group.

Ilana Weinstein.

Weinstein also sees talent leaving long/short equity hedge funds as they want to skill up.

Portfolio managers “get that we are no longer in a bull market and want to learn to run with diversification and strengthen their shorting skills,” she said. “The multi-managers have incredible tools and resources to help PMs manage market risk and be consistent P&L generators over time.”

A representative for Balyasny Asset Management said it’s hiring across all liquid asset classes. There’s a focus on building out its quantitative investing capabilities after years of bulking up its commodities and macro teams. The firm added 44 PMs in 2022, they said.

The $16 billion multistrategy firm has 160 positions open in its tech, data, and risk departments. It’s looking for quant developers, data engineers, data scientists, and cloud engineers and architects. It’s also seeking to hire at least 16 people for its risk department.

John Talarico, the global head of talent acquisition at Millennium Management, told Insider in an email that the firm had seen an uptick in interest from applicants who might not have considered finance in the past.

“Applications to our technology positions doubled in the second half of 2022, and we expect this growth to continue across the spectrum of technology, from full-stack engineers to security and cloud engineering roles,” he said.

… if you’re in or interested in asset management and private equity

Big traditional asset managers are hiring for roles around the alternative-asset capabilities they’ve built or acquired, said Paul Ciancarelli, a partner with the investment- and wealth-management-focused executive-search firm David Barrett Partners who specializes in recruiting senior-level talent.

“Much of their hiring is focused on supporting and building out this effort, in the form of distribution, product, and marketing talent,” he told Insider, referring to the industry broadly.

Reuters / Eric Thayer

Pushing into offering these investments outside of stock and bond funds has been a priority for BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, T. Rowe Price, AllianceBernstein, and other major money managers in recent years in an effort to diversify their businesses and boost revenue in an era of declining fees. Last year AllianceBernstein bought CarVal, a private alternative-investment manager, and in 2021 T. Rowe Price acquired the alternatives firm Oak Hill Advisors.

Ciancarelli said that intermediary distribution — or the teams that link their companies’ many funds with big wealth managers’ advisor forces that sell them to clients— is also an area of growth for many firms.

Alternative asset managers, meanwhile, are hiring in the private-wealth-management businesses they’ve spent recent years building out.

“Firms with expertise in real estate, private credit, private equity, and infrastructure are most active — and also highly attractive and sought out by top candidates,” Ciancarelli said.

George Wilbanks, the managing partner of the Connecticut-based wealth- and investment-management-focused search firm Wilbanks Partners, said in a LinkedIn post last month that the firm’s C-suite recruitment rose in October and November.

The demand came from “enterprises that are benefitting from continuing organic growth and asset flows, such as RIAs, ETFs, sustainable finance/ESG roles, and specialty asset classes such as renewable energy infrastructure, private credit, and AI-driven quant strategies, among others,” Wilbanks said.

… if you’re in or interested in wealth management

Despite the market downturn, wealth managers are in high demand.

“From our vantage point, it’s actually one of the more active recruiting environments we’ve ever seen,” Louis Diamond, a recruiter based in New York, told Insider. “While the rest of the economy might have layoffs or might not be in the best of spots, financial advisors are in very high demand because they are bringing over immediate revenue and pay for themselves relatively quickly.”

Louis Diamond, president of Diamond Consultants.

Diamond Consultants

Diamond, who focuses on hiring financial advisors and private bankers, said that household-name firms like Morgan Stanley and UBS, as well as Royal Bank of Canada and Raymond James, are on a hot streak when it comes to hiring advisors. First Republic is also aggressively adding to its relatively small roster of some 200 brokers, bringing on 13 teams last year from JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, and others. Experienced advisors who work with high-net-worth clients are particularly desirable.

Compounding the demand, said Phil Waxelbaum, a West Coast recruiter who was formerly a managing director at JPMorgan, is that many advisors are approaching retirement age. Between 2008 and 2015, the training of new advisors nearly came to a standstill, so the talent pipeline is running dry.

“Firms probably roughly doubled investable assets during that decade and didn’t do anything to enhance ranks other than pilfering from each other,” Waxelbaum said, referring to the bull market. “We’ve lost a whole generation that normally would step forward or would already be substantially tenured and prepared to take on this flood of wealth.”

… if you’re in or interested in fintech

Fintechs are having to slow down and focus on profitability.

Firms are focused on reining in costs — meaning there will be more cuts — while bringing on strong leadership, product-management expertise, and technological innovators.

Venture capitalists and investors poured money into fintech during the pandemic. But when private and public markets dried up in 2022 and the once free-flowing taps of capital slowed to a drip, many fintechs came face-to-face with a harsh reality. Rising interest rates, an abrupt slowdown in venture investment, and too much hiring too quickly meant founders were forced to cut expenses.

In 2022, many fintech darlings came crashing back down to earth. Feeling the squeeze, firms like the retail-investing app Robinhood, the crypto exchange Coinbase, the buy-now-pay-later giant Klarna, and the behind-the-scenes fintechs Plaid and Stripe cut staffers.

Dean Nacey, a partner at the executive-search firm SPMB, said that as people realize “they can’t continue to build a business and rely on future funding,” they’re “forced to create a healthier business that actually thinks about profitability in the next two to five years.”

“Long term, these changes are healthy in fostering an innovative technology market,” Nacey added. “Short term, this is painful for a lot of people.”

Paul Manning, a software and technology partner at Bowdoin Group, said fintechs are hiring business analysts to help firms understand their financials better and plan for “what if” scenarios.

He said it’s typical as industries enter a potential downward cycle that accounting and finance teams become “the No. 1 need.”

Deepali Vyas, the global head of fintech, payments, and crypto practice at Korn Ferry.

Korn Ferry

Deepali Vyas, the global head of fintech, payments, and crypto practice at Korn Ferry, added that for fintechs and traditional banks, the brightest spot of all is product. He said more firms are searching for people to fill roles in product management, as well as executive roles like head of product and chief product officer.

“Everyone is in the business of creating sort of integrated solutions, and it’s a way to kind of more deeply penetrate clients,” Vyas said. “If you have more holistic solutions, that means your product has to span or do more. That means product development is key.”

iCapital, an alternative-investments marketplace, is searching for 100 new hires to add to its tech department across its offices in New York; Greenwich, Connecticut; and Lisbon, Portugal, by the middle of the year. The fintech is looking for experienced hires for roles in product management, user experience, and software engineering.

True Search’s Jonathan Pomeranz suggested those looking to break into fintechs think about what differentiates them, whether it’s an ability to be flexible or an abundance of technical skills.

Andrew Unger, a recruiter at High Slope, said new hires need to show they can “pay for themselves” through their work and deliver value in as many ways as possible.

… if you’re in or interested in crypto

Despite the headlines surrounding some big names in crypto over the past few months, there are plenty of jobs in the industry.

Emily Landon, the CEO of the Chicago-based headhunting firm The Crypto Recruiter, pointed to the job board Crypto Careers, which has over 2,400 openings. Landon expects a hiring boom in March as the price of crypto stabilizes. (Bitcoin and crypto-linked stocks have rallied in January as investors hope central banks will slow down on raising interest rates.)

The turmoil within the crypto world — the collapse of a stablecoin, the implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, the bankruptcy filing from Genesis — has put a question mark over the future of many companies and put people in and out of the budding industry on edge.

Crypto companies are “looking for people that have a good reputation and more often than not value ethics,” Landon said. “There’s been a trend in the space where it’s scammy, people are untruthful, so I think reputation is everything.”

To find crypto jobs with firms that will withstand the volatility of the asset class, the candidate and the recruiter should do their due diligence on the company, looking into its funding and reputation. Landon said it’s acceptable to ask about the company’s cash flow and trajectory when interviewing.

“Crypto is a small world,” Landon said. “All you have is your reputation.”