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Fatal errors that will prevent you finding a new job in financial services this year

2011 could be the year of job seeking. According to Michael Page, financial services employees are suddenly a lot more willing to look for new positions.

However, as we noted last week, things have changed. 2011 is not 2010. If you want to get a new job this year, there are some things you must NOT do.

They are:

1) Demand a guarantee larger than your bonus for 2010

As we have noted numerously, the FSA has made guarantees a lot more difficult to negotiate, except in 'exceptional circumstances' and except where you are earning less than 500k total comp AND your bonus is less than one third of this.

If you are earning more than 500k, even in exceptional circumstances, it will not be possible to negotiate a guarantee that is greater than your previous year's bonus.

Headhunters say this has yet to filter through. "There's a real gap in expectations: most people think they should get a premium when moving," says one.

2) Demand a sign-on which involves the instant vesting of all existing stock

This too has been banned by the FSA. Any buyouts of existing stock must vest according to a schedule no more favourable than that established by your previous employer.

3) Insist that you will only work for a first tier bank

First tier banks did a lot of hiring last year. Goldman, Deutsche, Credit Suisse, UBS and JPMorgan added 9,836 people to their investment banking businesses. As the graph on this page shows, big banks did a lot of hiring in 2010 but didn't get much to show for it in terms of revenues. 2011, therefore, will be about consolidation. One headhunter says Credit Suisse plans to add no more than 50 people (net) across its front office businesses in London this year.

Instead, the real headcount additions will happen in the second and third tier. For a list of who's adding click here.

4) Quit before you've found a new job

You may feel tempted to quit once your bonus has been paid. Don't. The market isn't that good. "The reality is that in the UK being out of a job is looked upon with suspicion," says James Heath, managing director of recruitment firm Greenwich Partners.

5) Insist on receiving an investment banking-style salary if you move to the buyside or private equity

Investment banks have increased their salaries. Buyside firms haven't. If you want to move into private equity or a hedge fund now, you will therefore need to take a salary cut, but may get a higher bonus. Accept this, or you won't move.

"Bankers seem to want private equity firms and asset manager to match their base pay and award them high bonuses and carried interest," says Heath. "There is some reluctance around this," he adds.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • jj
    14 January 2011

    I got made redundant in Sept 08 and, after working in holiday resorts for 150pw (plus room and board) for the last 2 years, have just been offered a job consulting to my old financial services industry - OK, it is a six month fixed term contract to cover a maternity leave, but at 80% of my former salary I feel quite lucky and hopeful that this will be the start of a new phase in my career which I really thought was all over... so don't give up!

  • al
    12 January 2011

    Paloni, I'm very sorry for the traumatic times you have been through in such a short period. I have now been through 2 divorces and 2 redundancies in the last 15 years, it's amazing how these things seem to hit you at around the same time (fortunately my mother is still with us) and do take a terrible toll on self confidence. And peptroy, I'm sorry to hear your story too, I myself have now been out for nearly 3 years and all I can say to everyone in our situation is that perseverance will, I hope, bear fruit eventually.
    It does make you feel worthless and angry because we have a lot of experience and energy which is just going to waste and in most cases we need to work, it's not a lifestyle option!

  • Yu
    12 January 2011

    I agree with Lyman - hang in there Paloni and peptroy. This is the most competitive industry in the world, its tough out there with many people out of work for some time. Persist, but also look after your mental and physical health as the challenge will take its toll and you need to be in tip top condition to pounce on the opportunities that will arise.
    Best of luck.

  • Ly
    12 January 2011

    Paloni/Peptroy, just hang in there. A good hiring manager will understand how tough the last couple of years have been. Many people have lost their jobs but the market is starting to recover so you should find something eventually.

  • pe
    12 January 2011

    i was made redundant 3yrs ago, worked in fx/mm confimations, loved it and miss it terribly. i am registered disabled as i have mobility problems but nothing wrong with my brain yet no one wants to know. sadly i will probably never get a job like this again, ist time i,ve not worked for 35yrs. it makes you feel worthless when no one will give you a chance. so all you out there with jobs consider yourselves very, very lucky

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