After years of struggling to attract computer engineers who prefer to work at big tech groups or cryptocurrency startups, Wall Street firms say they are regaining ground in the war for talent as layoffs and hiring surge in Silicon Valley.
As exchanges, banks and market makers have expanded in the wake of the recent market crash, executives say the relative stability has made them more attractive.
Josh Woods, head of strategic trading technology at Citadel Securities, said: "We are definitely seeing a 50% increase in the number of candidates for technology roles from large tech startups, crypto and high-end startups." Quarterly.
"Candidates are really looking at the job market now, just like investors are really looking at value and fundamentals in a recession."
Falling stock and cryptocurrency prices, rising interest rates and the looming threat of a recession have sent the once booming tech sector into a tailspin since the start of the year. According to the website Layoffs.fyi, more than 75,000 job cuts have been announced through 2022, and even companies like Apple and Alphabet have halted or delayed hiring.
By contrast, market volatility has boosted trading volume at companies such as New York Stock Exchange-owned Intercontinental Exchange and Cboe Global Markets, which have increased the size of technology groups by more than a quarter this year.
According to ICE, "Confidence through multiple obstacles will resonate [with candidates]. Those with more experience in startups and cryptocurrency companies will appreciate the modern nature of our business."
As traditional financial firms become increasingly dependent on technology, intense competition for skilled workers has driven up costs. The CEO of a major bank said the spread of telecommuting during the coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated the problem.
“It was easy for engineers who work from home to change jobs. They had to log in from another computer,” he said. "Now that Apple and Facebook are slowing recruiting, that's changing."
Nasdaq said in January that "intense competition for talent" would be a key driver of cost growth this year, but when the company reported second-quarter earnings in late July, CEO Adena Friedman told analysts that the company was "getting started. Look. And a lot of people really want to come.” Including the boomerangs they left behind before returning.
One industry executive said wages for new hires had not yet fallen, but recent rapid growth had slowed.
However, many executives noted that the market remains competitive, especially among highly sought-after engineers. Cboe CEO Chris Isaacson said: "The diversity and flexibility of our business … allows you to invest in businesses when others are negotiating."
But he added: “There are always opportunities for top talent. We must remain competitive. . . It's how we reward people and try to retain them.''
Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York