Long term career opportunities at physical trading houses? (besides trader)

Hey lads, working for a top-tier physical trading firm in their metals dept (traffic). During the interview, I asked them what the usual path looks like for people trying to climb the corporate ladder and they responded with a very vague answer saying "you can go into anything". Now, considering becoming a trader is very competitive and is based very much on luck (from my research):

  1. I was wondering what other positions can I aim for, given that I am currently in a traffic role? 

  2. If I decide to leave this firm, which other avenues/companies can I (and should) explore with this experience I am gaining?

  3. If I don't plan on being a trader, is it not worth my time working in this role?

  4. How do I explain the average person (who's only ever heard of big names like EY, PWC, etc) what I do? only a handful of people I meet specifically in finance have acknowledged the existence of these trading houses. They often give me a confused look when I tell them. Makes me wanna take them to lvl 40 wildly and smite em for loot. (jk)

Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts..

Comments (14)

Most Helpful
Mar 29, 2022 - 11:17pm
oil_quant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What other roles do you want to do?  The main categories of jobs in the industry are traders, analysts, logistics, risk, and business development.

If you like doing logistics work, you can make a career out of that and then manage a team of operators later on if you have the interest.  From what I hear from friends that went this route, pay is probably 150-200k base with a ~50% of salary bonus target.

If you are dead set on impressing people who don't know about the industry, just become a trader- they will think there's a high likelihood you are rich. 

If you don't like your current job and you don't want to be a trader or anything else in the industry and want to use it as a stepping stone, I honestly don't recommend that.  Anything where prior experience is actually helpful (brokerage, consulting, hedge funds) is kind of niche and your role has to relate to the opportunity, while unrelated industries do not know about and do not care about what you are doing at your firm.  If you want optionality, do consulting or banking.  

Mar 30, 2022 - 1:07pm
icebarragei, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thanks for the detailed response. I want to be an analyst of some sort within the company where they're at least paying like 80-100k. Now I wish there was a way to find all the roles within the company and do more research to really pinpoint what sort of analyst but..yeah. I was inclining towards moving over to either BP or Shell as they have a great work culture and oil and gas pays $$$

Mar 30, 2022 - 4:43pm
oil_quant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want to be an analyst in oil and gas, it might help to start out as an analyst in metals at your firm?  And coding does not hurt.  Most hires have prior experience in the subject or are fresh with coding experience.  If you have neither, it will be tough.  Good analysts at those kinds of places make a lot more than 100k by the way.  Multiples of that if you add value.

Mar 31, 2022 - 12:04am
marcellus_wallace, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If the assumption is "Fundamental analysts", BP only hires mainly internally they have army of talent in the TGP to fill the roles. Shell similarly has cut their fundamental team in the last few years, remaining are higher paid seniors as oil_quant mentioned. You do not need to "pinpoint much", all fundamental analyst roles are pretty similar. 

Truly seems you are just better off going to a producer where things are slower, salaries are based on experience/seniority, job security is given and you do not need to push harder to grow/keep your role. A scheduler at a producer would be fine fit.

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Mar 30, 2022 - 12:10pm
marcellus_wallace, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Oil quant as usual nailed it.

You should not take their "vague" answer as insulting/confusing. These are very flat run organizations who are super lean and will try their hardest to keep people they like.

So guess our first question is, what do you enjoy about your job? Also why I do care to explain the average person what I do? 

Mar 30, 2022 - 1:09pm
icebarragei, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't know how to answer your first question rn..but for the second question, what if you're tryna get married and u gotta explain to the girl and her in-laws what you do?

Mar 30, 2022 - 1:12pm
marcellus_wallace, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Okay first question is more key ha.

Second question, Trafi has a website somewhere basically to answer that if you really want to summarize.

In my younger annoying arrogant days a relative asked what exactly you do, why did not go work in tech again? I said you wake up in the morning and your lights work, right? Guess what that means I did my job the day before. That said FT literally is writing daily what we all do now so this is an easier time than ever.

Mar 30, 2022 - 4:25pm
GoodBread, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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