predictions for 2014Bonuses are being decided and overall the figures are OK. While we do not see a massive net increase in bonus dollars, (up 5 or so percent) we see some areas where bonuses are going to sag (fixed income is going to have a poor bonus cycle this year).  While there are those on main street that wish for bonuses that look like 5 percent and simultaneously believe that 5% of a million is a lot of money, think again. The majority of workers on Wall Street are not millionaires and adjusted for inflation, the increases will not amount to as much as some people think.

The migration of money has been under way and so are the jobs. Banks may no longer be the employer of first resort.  With a new Fed Chairperson all but a “done deal” and Volker Rules inching closer and closer to reality every day, hedge funds, money managers, private equity firms and shadow banks which have been steadily picking up steam (and for many: investment dollars) in the last year are becoming more aggressive on the jobs front. Those investors thinking about making a change with the money they invest look a tad concerned that 2013’s run to 16,000 on the Dow Jones might result in a correction in 2014. They may be thinking about cashing in some of their chips  to look for alternative investments, or a wider variety of vehicles.  Follow the money!  If you are looking for a job in 2014, do the same.  Surely you can still search for a job in one of the remaining banking behemoths, or their European counterparts. But at the same time, be aggressive and look to alternative financial services organizations for opportunity.

It is our belief that overall the jobs market for 2014 will be better than it was in 2013. The information is purely anecdotal, but the conversations we are holding with decision-makers as well as the activity we are seeing in the fourth quarter point to a more robust hiring cycle next year! Coupled with an overall depressed compensation picture, this is a good time for money managers, banks and other financial services firms to engage in discussions for qualified professionals for opportunities in the coming year.  We are already hearing from and about senior professionals who are showing up in unlikely places to engage in new ventures. These professionals were looking all through this year, and the last one, and the one before that! Yet, now execution of hiring appears to be at hand. Oh, let it be the start of a trend!

futureTo add, I count the happy professionals in the marketplace in the minority at the moment. The rest tell me they are all searching for something: a better investment, a new job, more responsibility, more productive pros, greater control over their destiny, managers who recognize their value, more  money, and oh yes, all of the above!

Before you go out and buy that new car, or get your son the new X-Box One or PS-4, here is the dash of cold water on the hubris wrapped up in a nice holiday fruit cake. It is still a buyer’s market!  In order for you to win a better opportunity, you need to compete with your friends, colleagues, rivals and counterparts.  You still need to pay heed to all three pillars of an opportunity: skill set, experience, and subject matter. And, you still have to meet and impress a gaggle of people before the hire will be made.

Here is a wish for a warm Holiday Season and a Happy and Healthy New Year!