AUGUST Job Trending: Foreign, Human Language Skills in Demand in the U.S.

If you recently scanned a job board for analyst roles requiring language fluency, chances are you were hit with a list of computer programming requirements like Linux, OO Perl, SQL, RDBMS, C++, PowerShell, C#, Ruby, Bash and Python.

Scroll a bit further to academic requirements, and the school degrees that matter are computer science (“comp sci” in the industry jargon), computer engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics and maybe physics.

The intense demand for and media attention paid to these hedge fund comp sci jobs in recent years have led some to call this era in hedge fund history the revenge of the quants.

But in recent weeks, good ol’ human language skills are making a comeback for analyst roles right here on U.S. soil.

Examples of August postings from firms in several states where human language skills are in demand:

  • Pasadena, CA–based Himalaya Capital has a research analyst opening, and the listed first requirement is the only one written in caps and bracketed by stars: *WRITTEN AND VERBAL PROFICIENCY IN BOTH KOREAN AND ENGLISH REQUIRED*
  • Austin, TX–based Glaucus Investments is looking for a financial analyst, and Mandarin or Japanese is “strongly preferred.” Standard investment analyst responsibilities including analyzing annual reports, financial statements and other company filings, and communicating investment analysis to principals for investment consideration.
  • China-headquartered Khan Funds seeks a translator for their New York office who will provide oral interpretation and translation services for business meetings, and interact with executives from overseas companies.
  • Boston-headquartered Weiss Asset Management seeks French speakers to collaborate with an internal team investing in global equities, derivatives and fixed income. According to the job description, hires will be expected to conduct original research on new investment strategies in French markets under the guidance of Weiss analysts and will correspond with brokers, bank analysts and management teams in French as part of the investment due diligence process.
  • Another (recently filled) Boston-based role was for a qualitative analyst at Boston-headquartered Mitra Capital, a firm that apparently uses a verbal communication framework with roots in the Central Intelligence Agency. To be considered for this role, the applicant had to have “a demonstrated interest in understanding the nuances of communications and an intuition for seeing through verbal deception.” According to the firm, Mitra analysts use the firm’s framework to analyze transcripts of management’s commentary to discern what management knows but is not openly conveying about company prospects.


While computer languages are expected to play a continued lingua franca role and dominate hedge fund language needs in the U.S., all hope is not lost for foreign language and literature majors.

The HFObserver Industry Jobs Database is compiled daily from publicly available sources and information sent to HFObserver (click here to access full listing of monthly job moves — subscription required).

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