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Quant jobs at US banks are having a volatile patch

Volatility is usually good for quants... In the market, at least. Volatility at the workplace, on the other hand, is less enriching. In our salary and bonus survey, we asked quants across financial services how secure they felt in their jobs. Most were quite happy, but some were quite the opposite.

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More than 70% of quant respondents said they did feel secure in their jobs, but being safe and being happy are two very different things. A quant director at a bulge bracket bank in the US warns of a "toxic culture" where "nothing can be changed." He described his total compensation, around $350k, as "just a joke," and said he wants to change industries to something "with fair pay and much more flexibility." Indeed, the vast majority of quant respondents at the bank were unhappy with their pay packages.

At a separate bulge bracket US bank, the problem seems to be talent attrition. Around half of respondents were unsure of their job security there, and one New York based VP said "people are constantly quitting or getting fired." A first-year female associate in London said the "landscape is constantly changing" and they receive "little help to deal with it."

At European banks, things are different, but that's not always a good thing. A quant at one European bank in New York said they are "well integrated," while a VP in London said they earned more than a million dollars last year. There also appears to be people not pulling their weight; one quant director in London says "I work too much for my salary" and laments the fact that "even bad people don't get sacked."

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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