Another 180,000 Finance Jobs to Melt?

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One of the world's biggest executive search firms, CTPartners, predicts the financial services industry will shrink much further, and is putting its money where its mouth is by shifting its own resources away from financial-industry searches.

As demand for finance pros dries up, CTPartners is moving headhunters from banking to other industries such as pharmaceuticals and clean energy, Chief Executive Brian Sullivan told Bloomberg News.

Sullivan said financial services job cuts worldwide will double to about 350,000 by the middle of next year, from about 170,000 announced to date. He called the prospect of ongoing bloodletting "the financial equivalent of World War II.''

The shrinkage will be permanent because firms no will longer be able to boost returns through leverage, Sullivan said. Greater oversight and greater capital requirements on banks will crimp profitability.

Demand for quants may be hit hardest of all, Sullivan added, if banks return to their traditional role aas providers of merger advice, research and underwriting. "The classic investment bankers, advisers, are still going to be in demand. The people who are going to be in less demand are the highly quantitative, mathematically oriented product development people.''

CTPartners says it's the world's sixth-largest executive search firm.