Market Update Q3 2014

I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a brief update on the IT market for Q3 2014. At Pinpoint Asia, we specialise in two main sectors (a) Finance Technology (b) Hi-Tech/Commerce sector.

The main trends are below:


Market’s general performance:


Q3 looked more upbeat compared to Q2, despite there being more news of both downsizing within structured products teams in the banks, and news of outsourcing of back office support roles to India or the Philippines. Overall, certain business lines, such as, Equities and FX did see an increase in hiring volume.

We felt that the clients we work with generally seemed cautiously optimistic about the market. We saw hiring pick up across many of the Investment Banks, Trading Systems Vendors, Brokers and Market Makers we work with.

Depending on the seniority of the roles, salary increases were in the range of around 20% for our investment banking clients; 10-15% for commercial banking; and 10-15% for insurance companies. Although total compensation may be facing a downward pressure, base salaries still saw increases with movement from one company to another.

Types of roles in demand:

We have seen a growing need for candidates in the following areas:

Support roles: Many of our clients were looking for qualified candidates in both the 1st Level/2nd Support area, mainly in the Equities space. Almost all of the roles we worked on in Support required Trader Facing experience.
Infrastructure support roles: Infrastructure is one of those areas where there is always some sort of hiring activity. We saw a pickup in hiring in the Desktop/Helpdesk Support arena and also in the Windows/Unix Server administration area with banks.
Front Office Java/C++ Developers We saw a lot of demand for low latency Java developers, mainly in the Equities space. Core Java developer with Investment Banking Technology experience were in particular demand. Roles typically required Front Office experience and technical expertise in low latency, fundamental Core Java development. C++ Developers (C++/STL/BOOST) continued to be in demand too. We had clients looking for candidates with very strong experience in Algorithmic Trading Technology.
Project Management roles: Projects in the compliance area seemed to grow in Q3. Investment Banks were hiring in the Compliance Technology area, presumably because of projects surrounding the implementation of new rules and regulations in the Securities space.


Market’s general performance:


The hi-tech and commerce sectors have also seen an increase in hiring volumes last quarter, in particular, we saw infrastructure related roles continue to pick up in the commerce sector.

Types of roles in demand:

We have seen a growing need for candidates in the following areas:

Web Developers: Both C# ASP.NET and JavaEE Developers (JEE, Websphere, AJAX, JS, SQL) were in demand in the Commerce sector. Companies reached out to us because they wanted to hire web developers to build/enhance their online platforms.
Solutions Architects/Infrastructure Project Managers: Many of our clients in the Infrastructure/Cloud Services space were looking for Solutions Architects and Project Managers to be part of their growing Cloud Services team. Technical roles in the Infrastructure/Networking/Voice space were on the rise.
Mobile Platform Developers (iOS/Android): There’s been an increasing trend for companies to invest in their mobile branding/mobile platforms. Developers with experience in iOS /Android development were sought after.

UX/UI roles:The new mantra seems to be to build software applications with the user in mind. Developers and designers who can think and design applications, both web and mobile, in an intuitive manner were in demand. Our clients typically ask for past portfolios to vet their design.

Overall Outlook:

The market is not what it used to be back in 2006/2007 but it is showing signs of improvement and there is plenty of activity around. Once regulatory rules are embedded and become stable, we foresee that hiring volumes will increase.

Vince Natteri,


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