Hiring tech professionals is a top priority of major financial services firms

Data indicates year-over-year growth in several US cities, according to eFinancialCareers' latest report.

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Financial services tech hiring in early 2020 trended positively in the US, with most cities hiring above 2019 volume, according to eFinancialCareers' latest Financial Services Tech Job Report.

Not surprisingly, the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted employers to slow their immediate hiring needs. However, despite the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, including a closed economy, the data indicates areas of year-on-year positivity in several US cities and prominent tech occupations, according to DHI Group, the parent company of eFinancialCareers.

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So far, software developer, business analyst, application developer, senior software developer, and systems engineer all topped the list of the most sought-after occupations, the report said. A wide range of occupations ranking at the top of the list suggests that employers are maintaining focus on their product development roadmaps, as well as maintaining systems and infrastructure, the report said.

"US financial institutions have had to prioritize positions they considered most vital to their organization amidst the uncertainty of 2020, especially to support teams that historically have less experience working remotely, said Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, in a statement. "Since employees are now settled into remote work or planning a return to office, the range of positions in demand has expanded, speaking to the innovation and competition taking place in the financial sector as the demand for technologists continues to increase."

Job postings for .NET developers rose 49% year over year and application support engineers climbed 37% due to engineer reliance on the .NET framework for app-building, the report said. The search for cybersecurity consultants rose 28%, which is consistent with the need for financial organizations to stay ahead of hackers who are looking to take advantage of dispersed teams and networks, according to the report.

Overall, skills related to systems, infrastructure, development, and data are on the rise, as financial services firms determine how to better support remote working, collect, and analyze data, as well as build next-generation applications, the report said. This explains the demand for technologists who are adept at managing massive amounts of data, as well as coding in ubiquitous languages such as Python and Java, eFinancialCareers said.

Financial institutions appear to be as focused as ever on professionals who can build out the all-important data structures necessary for analysis with Apache Kafka (+43% YoY), MongoDB (+33%) and other data-related tools growing year-over-year, the report said.

As more of these companies look to the cloud for everything from storage to computing muscle, technologists with system engineering (+62%), systems analysis (+39%), and cloud computing (+32%) skills will only become more in-demand.

US cities that marked growth in year-over-year tech job postings

Although the report noted that it's too soon to say that a full recovery is on the horizon, several cities are seeing positive job growth. 

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia topped the list of cities with the most tech job growth in the first seven months of 2020 at 69% and 63%, respectively, the report said. Texas hosts three of the top 10 fastest-growing US cities: Irving (+58% YoY), Roanoke (51%), and Dallas (30%).

Tech hiring in the southern US comes as leading banks continue nearshoring talent out of high-cost locations. In addition to Raleigh, NC, increasingly positioning itself as a tech hub, the city is also becoming a tech center for financial institutions. With 53% year-over-year growth, Raleigh's top hiring companies include Wells Fargo, BB&T, Cohen Financial, and Charles Schwab.

New York City led the country in tech jobs posted by financial institutions through the end of July, although job postings are down due to COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns, the report said.

Ranking second is Charlotte, NC, due to a combination of financial institution headquarters in the city and a high volume of tech talent. San Francisco is third, leveraging the vast network of Silicon Valley technologists and Wells Fargo headquartering in the city, the report said.

Fourth is Chicago, which has utilized its network of commodities trading. Rounding out the top five is Minneapolis, with top finance companies Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp as the city's leading employers.

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...