Wall Street Hiring Seen Steady, But Slow

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While the overall U.S. job outlook looks strong for the next 6-12 months, predictions for financial services might be described as "steady, but slow."

For the second straight quarter, executives' overall confidence in economic conditions has risen and hiring plans are robust, especially at the smallest companies, according to the latest McKinsey Quarterly global survey. However, executives aren't so sure about what lies six months out.

On Wall Street, compensation specialist Alan Johnson calls this a recovery without a lot of hiring. "Unlike the last 20 or 25 years, where you had seven or eight ups and downs and firms over-hired in the peak and fired on the way down, this time they have been very cautious about hiring," he says. "I think it was so painful to let all those good people go when the bubble burst that firms have been very cautious this time. Head count has gone up modestly, but if you already have a job, the pay has probably gone up and you have more career stability than you have had."

In New York, the local economy is strong, with 133,000 more jobs in place than at the peak of the stock-market bubble. But if you're thinking of moving, don't wait - experts expect this job market to last about a year, despite the indications of McKinsey's survey, says the magazine Business 2.0.

Beyond Wall Street, Business 2.0 says job hunters have the edge over employers, and are job-hopping fast enough that some companies are paying managers bonuses if they can hang on to their staffs. One firm does two exit interviews - the second six months after a person leaves to uncover problems that weren't mentioned earlier, and sometimes to lure the person back.

The magazine says 65 percent of employees plan to look for a new job this year, and suggests firms have pushed their existing staff to the limit with downsizing and now have to hire in order to grow. Meanwhile, people tired of long hours and static salaries are taking the opportunity to move.

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