Before I lost my job with a top European bank two years ago, I spent 20 years trading cash equities. I've worked across the spectrum. algorithmic trading, client interaction, agency execution, latterly risk manager. Twenty four months after being made redundant, I'm still looking for something else.
I made some mistakes. I thought finding a new job would be easy. I took a year out before I even started looking for a job. When I came back I put a lot of energy into finding something new, but after around six months it became apparent that there just weren't any jobs. That still applies. There are so few openings out there that you end up calling headhunters about the same jobs all the time. After a bit, they stop returning your calls and are always busy when you try reaching them.
The problem is, no one is willing to make a hiring decision. You see a job advertised, but there's no follow-up when you apply and no real and firm commitment to actually filling it.
I've come close to getting a job three times this year. On each occasion, it's fallen through: budgets have been pulled or there have been problems with the process.
Nor is it possible to move into the middle office any more. Hiring in risk and compliance is slowing down and when they hire they're as fussy as a trading desk. The people who are hiring for risk want someone with experience in risk - not an ex-trader.
Even so, you need to stay busy. Don't dwell on your predicament. Get out, study, meet contacts for coffee. Being out of the market is hard, but it has some advantages. I've become a full-time dad and these two years have been an amazing chance to spend time with my family.
Max Bates is the pseudonym of an equities trader
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