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Big banks may be hiring less - but data shows Wall Street shouldn't worry

1 week ago by Jon Marino in Consumer, Earnings

The tension is palpable - if they're not coming for Wall Street pros' bonuses, then they have to sweat losing their jobs. 

If recent headlines are to be believed, anyone in the banking industry should be buttering up the boss and clearing off their personal schedule for Q1 to double down on work. However, the data makes for a different narrative - only half of the biggest banks in the United States are slashing job postings, according to Thinknum Alternative Data. And, in the US, those banks may be hiring more this year. 

Yes, Wall Street banks are increasingly digitizing. But, consumer banks aren't slashing staff (the same goes for US investment banks). The chart above tracks Bank of America ($NYSE:BAC), Citigroup ($NYSE:C) and JPMorgan Chase ($NYSE:JPM) job postings worldwide - which, hopefully, should help quiet fears of an industry-wide tech-enabled jobs apocalypse. Banks may be cutting back on headcount, in some parts of their businesses, but the idea that this is an industry-wide downsizing is disproven by the fact that the biggest banks in America are still looking for thousands of new employees. 

A complete look (not shown) at the top 5 biggest US banks' job postings reveals: since January 2019, one bank saw postings rise, but end the year flat; and of the remaining four, two increased posts for new roles and two reduced them - a mixed bag, at most. Further, it looks as if globally, there has been a slight downtick in the total number of jobs posted online. And while that may be enough to make bankers worry, it shouldn't be making anyone sweat on Wall Street. 

The next two charts we have to highlight track US-only job postings from three of the largest US banks. And, it's a much brighter picture than global hiring - while those job postings appear to have decreased slightly in aggregate globally, these three reflect a tiny uptick in total postings for the US. 

Finally, we're able to focus on the two smallest lines from the second chart - that being, the ones on the bottom, representing Citigroup and Goldman Sachs ($NYSE:GS). Bank of America has a far greater physical footprint, and a large international presence, which makes it difficult to take the true trajectory of smaller banks' US job postings into account. This chart reflects a 17% increase in US-based job postings at Goldman - and a whopping rise of 32% for Citi, from 2019 until today.

Now, they may not all be based on Wall Street - but this should be enough to remind US bankers that they're enjoying somewhat better prospects than their colleagues. And if all of this wasn't enough to be reassuring to Wall Street professionals (particularly those at Goldman) - look at it this way, as least you're not still stuck in London. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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