Ex-Bankers Make Good Accounting Candidates

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If hordes of unemployed investment bankers and fund managers are contemplating a switch to finance-related jobs, Seiki Murono hasn't seen the evidence. The managing director of Boyden Global Executive Search's San Francisco office says he's received a few extra resumes from ex-bankers - but hardly an onslaught.

Other West Coast recruiters also have yet to see an influx of job seekers from hard-hit financial services firms. Still, Murono says what refugees there are could be well-suited for public accounting and financial management positions. They have a strong ability to understand and organize large quantities of financial information, and possess unusual insight into how organizations should operate. "If you want to make the transition, it's conceivable for people looking to move out of their comfort zone," he says.

It's not unusual for job seekers coming from banks and related organizations to possess some accounting skills, Murono observes. Their biggest obstacles can be accepting the more deliberative pace of financial management and background roles. For some, particularly those who endured the downturns in 1991 and 2001, those are trade-offs worth making for greater career stability.

Murono's practice, and those of others in Boyden's San Francisco office, are well off 2007 levels. That dovetails with other regions in the firm's network. "We're all suffering equally," he says, adding that 80 percent of his clients "aren't hiring or are cutting back hiring."

Yet Murono sees a few bright spots in hiring for finance and other functions. These include the healthcare and technology sectors, both of which play large roles in the West Coast economy. He suggests it's a good time for companies to take stock of their workforce and look for areas where they can upgrade. That echoes remarks by other, who say that with more talented workers on the look-out, companies will be able to pick off employees who wouldn't be available in better economic times. For job seekers, that means more competition. But it's also a hint for the kind of companies that may be looking for people with strong financial skills.

Murono hopes the economy will begin to stabilize in late 2009, and hiring will improve as companies look to ramp up. "I'm optimistic," he says. "When we come out of this, a lot of companies that laid off people will find they've created a situation so thinly staffed that they cannot accommodate growth."

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