Optimism for 2007

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Rumors of a hiring slowdown in 2007 may be greatly exaggerated, at least one recruiter believes.

Robert Thesiger, chief executive at London recruiter Morgan McKinley, couldn't put it more plainly: "I'm very upbeat about 2007," he says. "I think we're coming to the end of year three of a classic recruitment cycle, which lasts anything from six to eight years. Two thousand seven, or even halfway through 2008, could be the top."

Why is Thesiger so optimistic? First, he believes 2006 was the first year in this cycle and that financial services recruitment has been truly frenetic, which suggests there may be more to come. Second, a survey of 25 top banks conducted by Morgan McKinley suggests 75 percent of them are expecting finance hiring in 2007 to exceed the level of 2006. That means 2007 could be huge for financial recruiters and job seekers alike.

What about suggestions that banks are gearing up to make widespread job cuts? Don't worry, says Thesiger: "Making noises about redundancies is a good way of massaging expectations down before bonuses are paid."

When the downturn does take hold, Thesiger predicts it won't be as bad for anyone axed as the last one. "Financial services is a lot more globalized than it was ten years ago," he says. "People will easily be able to move to new positions overseas."

Whether or not that's true could be a good question to ask colleagues at HSBC.

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