Trying to get a sense of the culture at NASDAQ OMX Group Inc., there is no better place to look than William Morgan, the exchange giant's HR chief.
Morgan is a computer scientist by training who most recently served as chief information officer at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, a company that NASDAQ snapped up in July 2008
Indeed, as NASDAQ (and a lot of other exchange platforms) finishes a recent buying spree, it has subsumed and reorganized a wide range of talent. Meanwhile, the company is courting MBA superstars and still shopping for candidates savvy about both technology and markets: the NASDAQ sweet-spot.
How has the company grown in the past 12 months or so?
As you know, 2008 was a very interesting year for NASDAQ. We had three major acquisitions and of course that's brought a lot of great opportunities with it. Certainly in tech we've been growing and that's of course for capacity and to keep up with
OMX exchange technologies worldwide.
With acquisitions always come synergies, and we've done a good job achieving those synergies and also presenting opportunities for growth. I think I'm a good example of that.
Are you looking primarily for tech people who also understand markets or market people who have tech skills?
I think it can be all of the above. When you look at building trading systems, we are unique in many ways, because our software isn't coming out of a box, which brings great opportunities for people who have computer science backgrounds. But you have to have strong knowledge of the business background to make it work. The combination of the tech background and the business knowledge is very, very important.
Is that mix difficult to find?
It can be difficult to find, but the job market lately has presented a lot of opportunities. I think in the technology side, we've certainly seen a lot of strong talent in the market.
How do you go about recruiting?
It's a combination. We have folks here who are very much part of the industry, so we have a pipeline in that respect. We do use recruiters in certain aspects. And we do have an employee-referral program
Are there any areas geographically where NASDAQ is growing faster than average?
There are a lot of opportunities in the Nordic regions. Of course, in technology, it's across the board...there has been growth both in the US and overseas.
As we've integrated the various platforms, there have been layoffs. Many of those were planned as part of the acquisition process. I think most of the synergies are behind us.
Have your search strategies changed at all recently?
For some of our junior-level talent this year we've started an internship program and we've had some great interns. I think that could be really positive and could get us some real superstars out of the top schools.
On the tech side -- the infrastructure, data communication and data security -- you always want the more experienced tech background. And we look at all different types of organizations for that.
It's an exciting place to work, mainly because we're in so many different businesses. We're obviously all over the world and our technology is obviously cutting edge. We have so many avenues for people to grow.
Do you ever lure workers from NYSE; is there any kind of talent war there?
I haven't experienced that yet.
Do you hire from big finance shops, investment banks and the like?
The big brokerages we've tracked mainly for the trading strategy knowledge.
I think our morale is good. Whenever you have acquisitions, depending on what side you're on, there's some anxiety. But I think it's gone very well and very quickly -- according to plan. I think we've done an efficient job assessing talent and determining where people fit and positioning people in the organization.
Has the company altered its compensation strategies at all in the past few months?
Our compensation strategy remains to reward for performance. Our employees all own stock.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Well, we've started a high-potential program, in which we identify some of our most promising employees. It's basically a series of learning modules, some taught by outside vendors, some by internal executives. The high potentials get live business cases where they have to solve a problem and present to executives.
It's a geat opportunity for people to grow and learn more about every aspect of what we do.
We also have a global mentor program getting under way in a couple of weeks.
What kind of interest have you seen?
Strong, we've had more demand than we can handle. It's all really part of our brand; our employees are so vital to that success.
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