Employment within the hedge fund industry is the primary goal of many college and university students. It is also a goal to which substantial numbers of people currently employed in the broader financial industry aspire.
The appeal of the hedge fund industry is understandable. Even those achieving the nadir in the industry can make jaw-dropping amounts of money. In addition to the understandable quest for lucrative compensation, hedge funds also boast an air of mystery that rivals secretive organizations such as Freemasonry and Yale’s Skull and Bones. The industry is also known to attract those who relish risk-taking. Hedge funds are also a magnet for the highly competitive.
This Appears to Be the Trend
Hedge funds continue to attract significant monies, and assets under management have increased by $50 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Worth noting, is the fact that European funds eked out slightly more than one-half of those net asset inflows.
A quick check of one financial jobs site, eFinancialcareers.com, revealed 530 positions, of all stripes, in the hedge fund category. Of these, 159 were in North America, 103 were in Asia, 258 were in Europe, with the remaining 10 roughly split between the Middle East and Australasia. While this reveals no absolute correlation between inflows and job openings, it is somewhat disconcerting to see that the demand for applicants is higher across the pond.
Additional research on the subject revealed that the number of advertised hedge fund positions as posted on eFinancialcareers.com seemed to be declining year over year, about 20% from 2011 to 2012, and 36% from 2012 to 2013 when 260 openings were posted. The current number, standing at 530, suggests a reversal of the trend. This is good news for those seeking a position in the hedge fund industry.
The Bad News
If this site is any indicator, a disproportionate number of available hedge fund jobs exist in Europe. The good news is that you may not need to master French, Italian or German to land a hedge fund job on the continent. A substantial majority of Europe’s hedge fund firms are based in the United Kingdom, suggesting that the skill set required for successful applicants will not necessarily include being fluent in a language beyond English.
Regardless of where the job search is concentrated, this side of the pond or that, a successful applicant will still need to demonstrate a personality suited to the fast-paced and high stress environs of the hedge fund industry. Hedge fund firms are looking for the most agile minds, the ability to express thoughts in a clear and concise manner and, of course, the prerequisite skill set for the position.
Chances of landing a hedge fund job can be enhanced through networking, reaching out to alumni, business associates, colleagues and friends that may know someone working in the industry, namely, someone able to arrange an introduction.
The very nature of the industry is such that this may be the best opportunity for an interview. Hedge funds won’t typically be found recruiting on college campuses. One has to be proactive in any job search, but this is absolutely essential for those pursuing an opportunity in hedge funds.