Cut rates/work hours for new grad traders at elite prop?

Curious to know what cut rates are these days for new grad quant traders across the industry. Also really interested to hear what typical hours are at different firms - I appreciate any anecdotes.

Firms I'm curious to hear about include:

Jane Street (prob very low)
Citadel Securities (guessing on the higher side?)
Five Rings
DRW (have heard low)

also curious about cut rates and work hours at slightly lower tier firms like Akuna, Flow, CTC, Belvedere, TMG, etc

Comments (13)

Jan 13, 2021 - 3:03pm

Work at top equity mm firm (one of citadel, virtu, g1x, two sig, xtx, hrt). Cut rate is really low and work 10-12 hour days, usually leaning towards 10 since wfh started. Let me know if you have any questions 

  • Junior Trader in PropTrad
Jan 13, 2021 - 10:43pm

Assuming that's Virtu - have heard good things about it being a low cut culture as well glad to hear things are pretty balanced with wfh

as an aside, those firms are a pretty dissimilar set to group (some hedge funds, some elite prop [not xtx] though hrt has very few traders, some i'm unsure like g1x)

Jan 13, 2021 - 4:43pm

Just from their websites, information I gleaned from interviewers and traders, and general hearsay:

Akuna: 6:45 AM to 5:00 PM

Jane Street: 40-50 hours

Flow Traders: 40-50 hours

Citadel: 70+ hours (or something pretty high lol)

Not sure about cut-rates however, but I would say other than for Citadel, the other firms have low rates

  • Junior Trader in PropTrad
Jan 13, 2021 - 10:36pm

would you say this is more so for Optiver? or IMC?

I've heard IMC cuts approx 20-25% and that Optiver used to cut heavily in the Chicago office as of 3-5 years ago but now cuts far fewer there (10-15%). Have heard they cut heavier in Amsterdam. Not sure of the veracity of this info of course, curious about your source

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Jan 13, 2021 - 11:45pm

Interned a few times in the space, joining the industry on graduation. Comments below are from myself, friends, recruiters, hearsay, etc.

To start with, most traders are at least tracking market hours, so good, or average, WLB for traders is closer to 50 than 40. That being said, I have also learned that good WLB in the industry is rather that traders are not expected to think a lot about work outside of their traditional work hours. Finally, you'll have new grads working on the lower and higher ends of any set of hours.

Additionally any top firm - your distinction seems pretty accurate - is going to have at least OK WLB,  because employees need to be happy to produce, and the firm needs to produce to be good. Sometimes payment replaces WLB, though - looking at you, Citadel.

A rule-of-thumb for cut rates, with notable exceptions, is that larger firms have higher cut rates, with most firms ranging from (10-25%) (estimate). This is not including those who switch over to other roles at the same firm, or leave of their own desire (5-15%). 

Everything below speaks to US offices, no experience anywhere else.

Jane: Most traders hired out of the intern class, cut rates turn out to be quite low. However the intern to full time offer rates can be low. Unlike popular belief, trader hours do not seem to be too low, perhaps 50 as the norm. The firm has a good culture for its employees though, and they're certainly satisfied.

CitSec: Most of the horror stories here come from Citadel, the hedge fund, rather than the securities side. Cut rates in securities seem to be pretty high, but not crazy - they poach with no remorse from other top firms. WLB is both team and location dependent, with Chicago perhaps higher and NY perhaps lower. 60-70 looks to be the average. Some interns were working 80 hour weeks, though.

Five Rings: Low cut rates, decently high hours though nothing crazy. Firm is smaller, new hire classes are smaller, cut rates are expectedly low as a result. Hours on the higher end, though not unreasonable - similar to Jane Street. 

Optiver: In the past, the firm had a reputation for cutting - my experiences nowadays tell me otherwise, and the past few years have had pretty low rates. WLB-wise things look to be pretty good, not great though. 

IMC: On the higher end of cut rates, but looks to be dependent on the year. Recruiters spoke to good WLB. Traders spoke to OK WLB.

SIG: Difficult to tell as there is a long time between hire and actually trading. Cut rates of new hires looks to be on the higher end, though it'll take 9-18 months from hire. seats look pretty solid after that though. Outstanding WLB for traders too.

DRW: Have heard low cut rates, decent WLB but no one I know has any direct experience with the firm. 

HRT doesn't have traders - people work a lot though. Two sig is team dependent, only execution traders btw, have not heard of g1, do not know anything about belvedere, flow, tmg, ctc, and so on. Others feel free to comment. 

  • Junior Trader in PropTrad
Jan 14, 2021 - 12:15am

Awesome-thank you for the high quality response! For full transparency, I'm a 2021 grad joining the industry at one of the listed firms and have heard many different anecdotes from people across the industry that agree with all of your information.


Agree w JS doing most of their ft hiring from interns (and having a somewhat low fulltime offer rate). Heard 50-55 hours for Optiver, relatively low cuts nowadays. Also pretty sure CitSec wlb can be really variant on team (think cut rates are much better than hf side tho), 60-70 average sounds really, really rough. Trading is much more intellectually taxing than something like banking per hour, so I can't imagine doing 70 hour weeks consistently without burnout. Heard great wlb for SIG, DRW (40-45) and pretty low cut rates for DRW. Also have heard that Algo Devs at HRT put in 50+ hour weeks, but they are quants (I assume quants put in similar hours to traders?).

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