New GIrl Considering Trading Assistant Position -- Am I Walking Into A Boy's Club?

Hey all --

I've been offered a position as a trading assistant at a great I-bank in NYC. I love the energy of the floor and what the job can lead to. But seriously -- are trading floors still the boys clubs that I keep hearing about? I want to hear all the dish about being a young woman on the trading floor before I make a decision. Salary and bennies are good. Everyone seemed nice, but interviews are not real life.

Thanks!

Comments (30)

Feb 26, 2010 - 10:49am
milkman84, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Lord:
Let's just say you'll get laid......frequently.

This would be funny if you actually knew what you were talking about.

As for real advice: The floor I worked on was about 5-10% female (definitely no more than 10%), and that's including secretaries. (Actually, come to think about it, the only female traders I saw were in rate derivatives and structured products.) So yes, it is a boys' club, but there are enough women that things will be more toned down than a lot of the college sophomores here would have you believe. It's not the 1980s anymore; people don't want to lose their jobs in a capricious sexual harrassment lawsuit.

Feb 25, 2010 - 9:21pm
GutShot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Depends significantly on the culture of the firm, but classic stereotypes about how women can only be salespeople while men trade, are starting to break down. The culture can be a little loud and rough for some personality types, which might explain why men traditionally pursued this track more often than women.

Feb 25, 2010 - 9:29pm
FemmeBot21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sounds good. I was an econ major undergrad and spent a year doing a whole lot of nothing at some DC think tank before a neighbor got me the trading assistant interview. It's a solid, profitable bank and I can be pretty acerbic around men. I was just wondering if socially if it may really be a cliche, grown up frat house. I don't so strip clubs. Any ladies on? Any other traders on? What are the women on your floor like?

Feb 25, 2010 - 11:23pm
PiperJaffrayChiang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We all know you're going to take the position because it pays well and you like the power.

In a male dominated trading floor: If you're ugly and fat, there is no dish and no one will look at you; there will be nothing to say. However since we know that all men like eye candy, you're probably attractive or at the very least a butter face because you were hired. If you are a butter face, then men will still think you're very hot and secretly stare at your body when you walk around and probably talk about it with other men. They will still fantasize banging your body, just not your face. If you are the whole package, there is a 30% chance that you'll get the same treatment as a butterface but they will either respect you immensely for being a completely hot intelligent female on the trading floor or ignore you because you are just way too hot.

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Feb 25, 2010 - 11:28pm
tdr34, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Let me put it this way, out of three desks I was on last summer, there were three female traders... just ballparking, that is something like 3/100. Sales had a lot more women, but even then I feel like they were the type of people that could "hang with the guys," so to speak.

Jack: They’re all former investment bankers who were laid off from that economic crisis that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have zero real world skills, but God they work hard.
-30 Rock

Feb 28, 2010 - 8:54pm
paperlec, what's your opinion? Comment below:

3 out of 100? That's way too low than I expected... I'm sure it will greatly depend on the desk you work on. I once heard that some desks(quant options/fx trading, exotic derivatives, etc) are less like frat houses and more like tech companies with more or less "nerdy" types. (I'm not showing any disrespect for the latter group, I want to be one of them.)

Best Response
Feb 26, 2010 - 12:56am
tdr34, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Oh definitely, I'm not saying the rest is like a frat house, there are specific pockets of desks that are often like that, in general its the more vanilla products from my experiences. It's absolutely not all frat-boys, however, trading in particular is mostly men, so its something to be aware of. If you're not comfortable working primarily with men, you might want to rethink.

It might have been more like 3/75, either way its not a huge difference. Maybe its different at different firms and product areas (this was in FI).

Jack: They’re all former investment bankers who were laid off from that economic crisis that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have zero real world skills, but God they work hard.
-30 Rock

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Feb 26, 2010 - 1:08am
tdr34, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Bondarb:
its no big deal dont listen to people on this board. If you want to be a trader then take the job. Investment banks are totally corporate these days you have nothing to worry about.

Should have said this before, if you want to trade at some point, take the position. Trading is still mostly men, but the trading floor is not like the Liar's Poker depiction for the most part. The thing that made me point out that its mostly men is you said something along the lines of you "can be acerbic around men."

Jack: They’re all former investment bankers who were laid off from that economic crisis that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have zero real world skills, but God they work hard.
-30 Rock

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Feb 26, 2010 - 7:11am
FemmeBot21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks everyone for your input. Some of it was very funny. And for the record, no I'm not a Butterface. I'm going in with an open mind and yes, hopefully in a year or so I'll get to trade full time. See ya at happy hour!

Feb 26, 2010 - 10:52am
soitwouldseem, what's your opinion? Comment below:
FemmeBot21:
Thanks everyone for your input. Some of it was very funny. And for the record, no I'm not a Butterface. I'm going in with an open mind and yes, hopefully in a year or so I'll get to trade full time. See ya at happy hour!

All butterfaces say they are not butterfaces. :)

Feb 27, 2010 - 9:52am
eric809e, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's a very male atmosphere. Traders will yell and scream when things go wrong.

The atmosphere has changed - and they're more inclusive of women. You'll see more junior female traders than senior ones as they've made a bigger push for diversity lately.

However, I've been in situations where girls complain they're left out of joke and the real fun begins when the girl steps off the desk. You gotta be able to get along with the guys. Don't sleep with any of the guys (same goes for any workplace). It's a support position and the better you get along with the guys you support the better you will do.

Feb 27, 2010 - 3:55pm
soitwouldseem, what's your opinion? Comment below:
eric809e:

However, I've been in situations where girls complain they're left out of joke and the real fun begins when the girl steps off the desk. You gotta be able to get along with the guys. Don't sleep with any of the guys (same goes for any workplace). It's a support position and the better you get along with the guys you support the better you will do.

There was a girl that my bro worked with-she always acted like a dude, so the men began to treat her like a dude, then she filed sexual harrassment charges on one the guys.

Point is when a male atmosphere gets changed into an atmosphere that includes females...the men become resentful, cause their freedom gets limited.

Feb 27, 2010 - 4:57pm
juklano, what's your opinion? Comment below:
soitwouldseem:
Point is when a male atmosphere gets changed into an atmosphere that includes females...the men become resentful, cause their freedom gets limited.
*add in a British accent

Sounds like a voiceover in a Discovery Channel documentary.

Feb 27, 2010 - 3:39pm
ranknfile, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's totally a male-dominated culture. If you can hang then you'll do well. Otherwise best to find something else.

Feb 27, 2010 - 6:57pm
Bondarb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Of course you have to watch what you say in mixed company..but thats just how life works. A female trader has nothing to worry about in terms of being harassed or being made to feel uncomfortable. If anybody actually said or did something inappropriate they would be fired instantly. You will be working with Ivy league-types, not longshoremen.

Feb 27, 2010 - 7:04pm
monty09, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Bondarb:
Of course you have to watch what you say in mixed company..but thats just how life works. A female trader has nothing to worry about in terms of being harassed or being made to feel uncomfortable. If anybody actually said or did something inappropriate they would be fired instantly. You will be working with Ivy league-types, not longshoremen.

i find the ivy types are more into "fitting in"

Feb 28, 2010 - 3:18pm
soitwouldseem, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Bondarb:
Of course you have to watch what you say in mixed company..but thats just how life works. A female trader has nothing to worry about in terms of being harassed or being made to feel uncomfortable. If anybody actually said or did something inappropriate they would be fired instantly. You will be working with Ivy league-types, not longshoremen.

^^^^^^^didn't go to an ivy

Feb 28, 2010 - 3:24pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ya, Ivy League guys don't harass women or say sexist things. I didn't realize that going to Harvard instantly made you an English gentleman while going to Duke simply cleaned the dirt off the common man.

Traders are high energy, work in a predominantly male environment. Whenever you get a bunch of guys around they tend to act like a pack of wolves. A woman will calm that behavior. Everyone is an adult working in a professional place, you will be treated with respect. Try not to take offense if someone has a slip of the tongue and says something out of place.

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Feb 28, 2010 - 3:37pm
soitwouldseem, what's your opinion? Comment below:

[quote=AnthonyD1982] Whenever you get a bunch of guys around they tend to act like a pack of wolves. A woman will calm that behavior. quote]

Not from my experience. I have known guys that get a kick out of saying offensive shit in their presence.

Feb 28, 2010 - 9:05pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:
soitwouldseem][quote=AnthonyD1982:
Whenever you get a bunch of guys around they tend to act like a pack of wolves. A woman will calm that behavior. quote]

Not from my experience. I have known guys that get a kick out of saying offensive shit in their presence.

Ya, I'll agree with you, but I also think a lot of guys will censor themselves out of self preservation. I mean with the lawsuits we have in today's world it might be wise to not be Andrew Dice Clay in front of your female coworker ha!

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Feb 28, 2010 - 7:48pm
FemmeBot21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ha! Your responses are really all great. Thank you, again. I'm really starting to look forward to the new gig.

And I'll try not to sleep with the entire floor. But it may be difficult! You can never control them ladies!

Feb 28, 2010 - 8:46pm
monty09, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jun 9, 2013 - 2:28pm
ABC15, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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