Monday, October 18, 2010

Compensation Update 2010

Compensation for Quantitative Professionals:
What to Expect in the Near Term

The last two years have seen the job market for quantitative professionals bungee from robust down to the weakest level in 70 years and, just recently, back to relative health. Now that things are getting back on track, at least for our industry, the topic on the minds of clients and candidates alike is compensation.

Author Robert Heinlein once wrote: “There is no such thing as luck. There is only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe” While it’s good to know where you stand in the current market, it’s just as important to stay abreast of the outlook for more senior level positions to plan your career path. Here are some observations and guidelines about the patterns we are seeing in this new economic cycle:

Vice President/Director
$150,000 to $250,000

Within corporations, a director or VP typically manages multiple layers with upwards of 20 staffers. At this level, it is important to have well-honed leadership skills and to provide strategic vision. In consulting firms, the ability to develop new business becomes important at this level and will usually require heavy travel.

$120,000 to $170,000

This level usually offers the first significant opportunity to develop managerial skills. A solidly performing senior analyst who demonstrates mentoring and leadership abilities, in addition to business acumen and initiative, could be promoted into this role. It is highly unusual for a senior analyst to change companies and move up to manager level simultaneously, as most firms prefer to hire people with demonstrated management experience or to promote from within.

Senior Analytical Specialist
$80,000 to $180,000

As data-driven decision making becomes ubiquitous in business, statisticians as individual contributors have been able to command greater salaries. This is especially true if their programming skills (SAS or R) are well honed and their statistical know-how is exceptional. There are many technology based firms that are driving these salaries up. It is important to take on direct reports and/or business development responsibilities to ensure career advancement.

Senior Analyst/Analyst
$65,000 to $90,000

Even in this recovering market, there is strong demand for quantitative specialists with one-to-five years’ experience. The stronger the candidate’s background with software like SAS or R, and the larger the datasets, the more sought after the analyst will be. Now is the time to develop your communication skills, as every employer expects their analysts — especially senior analysts — to be able to deliver quantitative information to a nontechnical audience. Candidates at this level are now receiving multiple offers if they are conducting an active job search.

Entry-level Masters
$55,000 to $70,000

As the market strengthens and companies struggle to find candidates with one-to-two years’ experience, the entry-level market for quants will continue to improve. It has been a gloomy couple of years, but we are now seeing signs that the new grads of December 2010 and June 2011 will be a hot commodity.

Let us know if we can help you figure out how best to prepare for the next move in your statistical universe. I welcome your questions and comments — please join in an on-line salary discussion and share your experiences here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

This week we celebrated the first anniversary of Burtch Works — one year of working together, but many years of combined expertise as executive recruiters for the quantitative and market research disciplines. By most standards, starting a new enterprise in the middle of a recession would seem like a shaky idea, but I believed then and still believe that we are in the right place at the right time. It’s the right place because we serve an industry that holds the bold promise of growth and stability for the foreseeable future. It’s the right time because we are poised to help our candidates and clients negotiate a new and changing environment as we move forward through economic recovery.

One year ago I talked about Burtch Works being my own personal vision. It’s been a joy to see my vision transform into a reality. Thank you to all the people at Burtch Works who have shared that vision and helped shape it into a living, working enterprise. And thank you to all of you for your feedback and support. We’re looking forward to year two!