The financial industry is undergoing a revolutionary transformation, thanks to the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). From Goldman Sachs to Deutsche Bank, financial institutions are exploring AI breakthroughs, particularly in generative AI that can produce human-like content.
However, amidst the excitement, a new challenge emerges for job seekers in the tech realm of finance.
The Hiring Dilemma
While AI has piqued the interest of Wall Street leaders, the deployment strategies remain unclear for many institutions.
According to Zac Maufe, head of financial services industry solutions at Google Cloud, numerous banks have a myriad of use cases but are still in the testing phase. The learning process is ongoing, and firms are beginning to identify valuable applications.
Even if firms aren’t totally sure how they want to use it, they do recognize the need to hire people to build and operate the AI-backed products, services, and tools.
Just about every respondent (99%) in a recent Google Cloud survey of bank execs is hiring talent to support their generative AI initiatives. More than half of the national bank execs said they’re hiring “significantly” or “extensively.” The report surveyed 350 IT decision-makers and senior executives across national, regional, and local banks.
Banks have started recruiting efforts as the AI arms race takes off. Among the nation’s six biggest banks, there were 475 new AI-related job postings year to date, according to Revelio Labs, an employment data provider. JPMorgan is hiring the most AI-related roles, with 239 job postings between January and October, according to the data.
Despite the need for new hires with AI and data skills, banks and hedge funds are being more selective about who they hire, according to a half dozen recruiters, tech leaders, and hiring managers. Plus, the qualities and skills finance firms demand are changing, with some companies prioritizing technologists with business acumen and understanding of financial markets.
“Five, six years ago, finance wasn’t necessarily on everyone’s radar. Now they see all the best candidates, even fresh graduates seeking roles with the upper echelon of trading firms rather than big tech,” said Jayson Bevacqua, a technology recruiter at Solaris Search Partners. “A few years ago, this wasn’t the case. As a result, the market is more competitive than ever, and companies have the luxury of hiring the absolute best candidates.”
For technologists already working on Wall Street or those wanting to break into the industry, here’s what you need to know to get ahead as tech execs chart the AI roadmaps likely to shape Wall Street’s tech for years to come.
Here are the hottest positions finance firms want to hire
The AI boom is carving out new, specialized tech jobs on Wall Street. Unlike a traditional software engineering gig where technologists are asked to write code and integrate systems, AI applications at banks require niche skills and benefit from having industry context. Because generative AI is such a nascent space, the security, privacy, and ethical implications of the tech — especially in a highly regulated industry like financial services — are still being figured out.
More than half of the national bank executives surveyed by Google Cloud said data security issues, such as leaking confidential company data to an AI model, was their top concern in adopting generative AI.
And since governance, privacy, and security work falls at the intersection of business operations and tech, the in-demand roles reflect that. The most popular roles bank execs plan to hire for, according to the survey, are AI quality assurance testers (to ensure the AI software is running correctly), AI strategy consultants, and AI product managers.
The two latter roles illustrate a growing trend in finance where hiring managers want people who can wrangle the data while applying industry knowledge because “now you can kind of talk to your data,” said Maufe, who works with Google Cloud’s financial clients, which includes powerhouses like Apollo and Goldman Sachs.
Here are the most sought-after skillsets
Data experts, like those who know the ins and outs of data systems and can make sense of large data sets, will be in high demand.
“All roads lead back to data,” Maufe said. “It’s still garbage in, garbage out. So if you are pointing these really sophisticated things at data sets that aren’t reliable, it’s not going to be a good outcome.”
Recruiter Ben Hodzic said many assignments that come across his desk at Selby Jennings, which is hired by top investment banks, hedge funds, and asset managers to fill open tech positions, are because of data.
Nearly 50% of all roles that the managing director works on in technology have come about because that organization is seeking to utilize data better, Hodzic told Insider. He said clients want to build internal data platforms and systems rather than rely on outsourced solutions.
“They see a lot of value in continuing to invest in data and recognize that the only way to do that is hiring people” that can understand the systems, how they’re architected together, and extrapolate the data, he said.
Finance firms are also still hiring engineers who can work with the cloud, with about half of the participants in Google Cloud’s survey responding it was one of the most desired skill sets. Public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have a foothold in finance companies’ generative AI plans. It’s common among Wall Street firms to hold data in the cloud, with many are designing new applications where their data is.
Understanding AI ethics, regulations, and compliance was another popular skill banks are hiring for, according to the survey, as is understanding the intersection of AI and business. Firms like Citadel Securities and Millennium Management previously told Insider they are seeking and prioritizing candidates who can illustrate business savviness and are interested in capital markets.
“What we’re looking for is the deep understanding of technology, but more importantly, at least for me, is a passion for learning about financial markets,” says Olga Naumovich, Millennium’s head of technology in Miami.
- How is AI impacting hiring in the finance industry?
AI is driving a surge in hiring for specialized roles such as AI quality assurance testers, strategy consultants, and product managers.
- What skillsets are finance firms seeking in the AI domain?
Finance firms are actively seeking data experts, cloud engineers, and individuals with a deep understanding of AI ethics, regulations, and compliance.
- Why is data security a top concern for national bank executives adopting AI?
Leaking confidential company data to AI models is a significant worry, highlighting the importance of robust data security measures.
- How has the competition for AI talent in finance evolved in recent years?
Finance has become a top choice for tech professionals, leading to increased competition, allowing companies to be more selective in hiring.
- What is the future outlook for AI in the finance industry?
The future of Wall Street is being shaped by innovative AI roadmaps, with ongoing learning and testing paving the way for widespread AI deployment.