A trainee who wants to get his first job as an analyst with the San Diego Stock Exchange could spend a few months working on a spreadsheet before getting a call back from the broker or investment firm that he had been interviewing for months.
“It’s like a two-day interview,” said Dan Stann, who was an analyst in the industry for more than three decades.
“You’re there for three days, and you have a couple of days off and you can spend that time just in front of the computer.”
Stann, now an associate at a consulting firm, said he was never told about the practice, which he says was commonplace for young traders.
He added that the practice has come to a point where the financial services industry is now grappling with the issue of recruiting and retaining highly qualified candidates.
“The financial services community is really looking to hire and train new employees,” he said.
Stann said he worked as an adviser for a brokerage company for nearly two decades and has seen the impact of the practice firsthand.
He recalled working as a traineeship analyst for a major financial firm and was never given any kind of written assignment about how to conduct an interview.
“You would go to the trainees’ office and have a phone conversation with the person who’s in charge of the interview,” he recalled.
“And that was the end of it.”
The practice was so common that Stann said it was considered acceptable to have a trainers’ office in the building where he worked in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Stanc said he thought the practice was outdated because it had gone out of style in the past decade and was no longer used by most companies.
“It was a lot more like you would have to have an associate who was in charge to have that phone conversation,” he added.
“So it’s not a new phenomenon.”
In an effort to stem the tide of trainees taking a pay cut, the San Diegans Stock Exchange has started requiring trainees to pay the same base salary as regular employees.
The company also requires that the candidate have a minimum of five years of experience before being hired.
“I’m going to go back and look at what the market is going to be like,” Stann added.
He said the industry is starting to recognize the need for a more flexible approach to trainees, and it’s encouraging that the San Jose Stock Exchange and other major financial firms are now requiring trainee candidates to pay a base salary of $20,000 per year.