Equities, credit and FX trading aren't what they were. According to one headhunter, this realisation is driving a sudden enthusiasm for working in commodities.
"Fixed income and equity traders are desperately trying to get into commodities," he says. "But it's almost an impossible to move to make in this market."
Commodities traders haven't exactly been having a wonderful year either. Just ask Blythe Masters at JPMorgan, who has been 'taking the heat' following a disastrous bet on coal in the second quarter and lacklustre growth in revenues.
Third quarter results for commodities were mixed. Credit Suisse had a good quarter, despite cutting VaR. Morgan Stanley said volumes were lower. BofA said higher revenues in commodities contributed to its healthy FICC revenues.
On the whole, however, commodities are still seen as a good career bet. For this, commodities traders have quantitative easing to particularly thank. One Goldman analyst is suggesting that the Fed needs to print $4 trillion in new money, a move predicted to lead to big increases in the price of oil and gold.
However, while there's growth in areas like commodities ETFs and demand for physicals traders remains comparatively strong, moving into commodities isn't easy.
Publicly, Citigroup says it's building in commodities in Europe. Privately, recruiters say they haven't seen any sign of this yet.
If you really want to move, you may be better off doing so internally.
"Banks are moving internal people into certain roles within commodities," says Paul Chrispin at Principal Search. "These tend to be more in the structuring and derivative trading areas where skills are transferable."