As we ring in the New Year, calls are starting to come in again wondering how 2023 is going to change the public finance outlook as it relates to hiring trends. I was pondering this exact question when I got my first call from an experienced banker and here were his concerns, “If I make a move and if it is not right, do I get penalized because of starting a position and leaving in a short period of time?” This question really got me thinking about what has changed over the last three to five years in the hiring world. What are the likely 2023 hiring trends within our industry?
The Workforce Shifts
Whether these changes are a result of the pandemic or a result of the influence of millennials, there are circumstances that would never have been tolerated years ago. However, today they are just glossed over. Let’s dive into the 2023 hiring trends for the public finance industry. The first area is working remotely and not being in the footprint of your clientele. The ability (in some cases the desirability) to leave the brick and mortar of the corporate offices is accepted by most firms. To have satellite offices or even work-from-home locations are now readily accepted. No longer are firms seeing the need to have everyone in the office on a daily or even weekly basis. Productivity in fact has gone up as there is so much less road-warrior behavior. Zoom and Teams have allowed deals literally to be done over computers; thus, avoiding the dead travel time and the expense that occurred from this mode of doing business.
Past Vs. 2023 Hiring Trends
Now to address the question above. Making a move is no longer the live-or-die mode in 2023 hiring trends. If you made a move and it did not work out, I would have a tough time as a recruiter years ago. Why? Getting a firm interested in someone that had more than four or even three moves in their career unless it was a result of merger activity was a hard sell. Today when a firm asks me about an experienced candidate that has moved a lot it is no longer a red flag. No longer do the hiring managers think that a candidate is just moving to increase their signing bonus and compensation package. Firms are aware that culture and platform are excellent reasons to be making a move and this will not be held against a potential new applicant the way it used to be.
Deals, Deals, Deals
Another one of the 2023 hiring trends we are seeing is in the deal-making itself. Here we are seeing larger firms starting to go after smaller deals; thus, making the arena more crowded and profits lower in the traditional muni space. This is causing middle-market firms to look at more esoteric credits. The bankers and bond counsels that are now more attractive are the highly specialized niche professionals. Project finance, credit tenant lease, higher yield projects in the renewable space, etc. are now what firms are looking to capitalize on when they are making hiring decisions. The traditional banker/bond counsel that is a generalist is not in as much demand as in the past.
In 2023 Hiring Trends, Does The Name Really Matter Anymore?
This brings me to the last of my 2023 hiring trends – that of the firm itself. The business card that you are putting down is nowhere near as important where credit is not being extended. In deals where there is no usage of the balance statement, it really is not mattering which firm a banker is representing. This trend is the banker and his/her relationships as well as the requisite knowledge to get the deal done is what is important. Therefore, we are seeing bankers leaving the bulge brackets and going to the middle to smaller firms with very little concern that the name of the firm is not a household word. Many of these bankers are indeed liking the fact they know now the deal is being done because of who they are, their reputation, and not the history of the firm or its name recognition.
Have a great New Year!
If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected] He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”
About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.