Media-Whipped Banks Seen Pulling Back From Talent War

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Large banks' heightened focus on reputational risk is shrinking your chance of getting a big pay bump by switching employers.

Newly attentive to their public image, institutions are "leveling" differences among compensation packages across the industry, says Paul DeLucia, a partner at Options Group, a global executive search and consulting firm focused on the financial industry. "Many firms are making very similar measures" in how they structure compensation, De Lucia observes. He says professionals who lack a huge transferable book of business may consequently find fewer opportunities to move among employers.

Superstars are always in demand. "But if you're not in a seriously revenue-driving position, there aren't enough opportunities to sustain this sort of a candidate interest," DeLucia tells eFinancialCareers News. "There are many many candiates for the openings that we see."

Demand For Risk and Compliance-Related Roles

A bright spot is risk management and functions closely related to compliance, including roles within operations that might interface with regulators and other bodies. Banks have been re-staffing in those areas for the last year or so, a trend DeLucia expects will continue.

He says last week's White House announcement of a tougher financial services overhaul plan aligns with managements' existing disposition to limit reputational risks both from the types of businesses they engage in and their compensation packages. Still, he doesn't expect banks to suddenly pull back from hiring traders or alternative investments professionals.

"Right now there's a lot of rhetoric. But not much will change until things are crystal clear. For the most part, it will be business as usual until there's clarity." If uncertainty persists for long, however "it will start to hinder some people's progress."

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