If you have been trying and failing to get a job, this may be why: investment banking recruitment appears to have fallen through the floor.
Figures from the banks that divulge relevant headcount figures (JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche), show that in the first quarter of 2010 they increased their global headcount by 2,357 vs. the fourth quarter of 2009.
However, in the first quarter of 2011, the same banks increased their headcount by 447 vs. the fourth quarter of 2010.
This may be overstating the case.
The figure for 2011 includes the addition of 768 people at UBS - an overstatement because many of them were transferred internally. Net new additions last quarter at UBS were only 435.
When the figures for UBS are amended, the banks listed above only added 114 people net in the first quarter: a 95% reduction on the first three months of 2010.
Bank by bank headcount changes were as follows:
JPMorgan (investment bank): 1Q11: 180; 1Q10: 257
Goldman Sachs: 1Q11: -300; 1Q10:600
UBS (investment bank): 1Q11: 768 (435 net); 1Q10: 697
Credit Suisse (investment bank): 1Q11:100; 1Q10: 600
Deutsche (corporate and investment bank): 1Q11: -301; 1Q10: 203