Glassdoor, a jobs and career site, tracks the outlook for the financial sector. At the end of last year, it found 41 percent of finance workers believe their company's business outlook will get better in the next six months, which is about average for all industries. About a quarter of finance workers believe conditions would worsen. (See table)
"What we interpret is that Wall Street finance employees expect the business hiring situation to get better ever so slightly in 2014, but nothing drastic," said Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor's corporate communications manager. "Anecdotally, what we are hearing from employees is that there seems to be great demand for highly skilled and very specific employees. ... There are some very innovative jobs and senior jobs hitting the market in 2014. The skills they are hiring for are relatively tough to find and they are very hard to fill positions."
It's a situation the Graduate Management Admission Council is closely watching, with another batch of MBA students just months away from pursuing their careers outside the classroom.
Some 60 percent of firms are looking to cut expenses and there's still a pretty big hangover from the financial crisis, according to Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research communications at GMAC.
"They want workhorses to help them reduce costs and increase efficiency. There is a solid opportunity for those who bring those specialized quantitative skills," Renz said.
The ones best qualified to jump into those roles, said Renz, will be those armed with masters of finance and accounting degrees.
She also believes a great strategy for finance job applicants is to look beyond Wall Street and consider opportunities in places like Silicon Valley—where the demand is strong for investment bankers.
—By CNBC's Stephanie Landsman. Follow her on Twitter @StephLandsman.