Now that equities recruitment appears to be falling out of favour and fixed income headhunters are speaking of hiring freezes, it's tempting to assume that there's not much hiring happening in the front office and that only finance, risk and compliance professionals can find jobs.
This is not so. There is still hiring in the front office, but it is focused. Hiring is happening, but it's happening in hot spots. These include:
1) US treasuries traders who are already in London
Senior US treasuries traders might be easy to find on Wall Street but they're not easy to find in London, says Simeon Ramsden, a consultant at Nicholas Scott Executive Search. "Senior treasuries tend to be very entrenched in the States," says Ramsden. "They're a very rare breed in London and there are quite a few jobs going here for them at the moment."
Most banks would prefer to hire US treasuries traders who are already in the UK, rather than to pay an enormous package to lure a US treasuries trader and his/her family from the US.
2) FX traders who cover central bank accounts
FX hiring is resilient generally, says one senior FX headhunter in the City. However, he says there's been a "genuine surge" in demand for people to work on central bank coverage roles. These are the traders who work on behalf of central banks on currency intervention trades.
3) Sovereign CDS traders
Despite calls to ban naked sovereign CDS trading and uncertainty over the impact of Greek restructuring on the sovereign CDS market, banks are said to be expanding here too.
In a survey late last year, 89% of respondents told Fitch they expected the market for sovereign CDS to keep growing.
Ramsden says banks are adding desks and traders. "Sovereign CDS is attracting a lot of interest. There's new headcount," he adds.
4) Counterparty valuation adjustment traders
We touched upon CVA traders last year. Apparently they're still hot.
"CVA is a very, very tight market indeed," says Ramsden. "There are just not enough people with experience in the area."
Exotics traders are apparently moving into CVA trading. Pay is increasing. People running CVA desks at big banks are reputedly making 7 figures.
5) ETF and Delta One Professionals
ETFs and Delta One products were predicted to be areas of hiring last year. Things seem to be proceeding as expected.
"Delta one is huge," says a headhunter specialising in this area. "Banks are looking for everything from salespeople to traders and structurers across all product areas. They want people with experience, which means good people are more and more bid."
6) Equity derivatives flow salespeople who can bring in 5-10m of business
"Banks want the big revenue generators," says another equity derivatives headhunter. "It's all about targeting the big ticket accounts."
The holy grail is apparently someone who can bring in 10m of institutional business. "Every single of my clients are looking for this skillset," says the headhunter. "They've all enquired about the same skillset."