Will Jefferies be hiring all the unemployed bankers soon?

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Thank goodness for Meredith Whitney. During yesterday's Jefferies conference call, she asked the question currently at the forefront of everyone's mind:

'Will Jefferies hire all the people being let go by other banks?'

Or, in her own words:

'What are you doing terms of opportunistically with respect to the layoffs that are ongoing now, the teams that are available now? Does re-hiring new teams [AKA dumping existing staff and upgrading with superior unemployed specimens] become more cost effective?

CEO Richard Handler's response was swift but convoluted: NO.

From now on, Handler said Jefferies will only be hiring on a "truly very selective basis."

Hendler explained that they don't really want other banks' rejects: "If we're going to be adding, it's not going to be because someone is laying off, it's going to be because we see a need or an opportunity, and it's generally going to come from the top of the class." (Our emphasis)

But there ARE still jobs at Jefferies!

The good news, however, if you are top of the class and want to work at Jefferies, is that it is still hiring.

Jefferies recruited 140 people in the past quarter versus 92 in the same quarter last year. And it still has gaps. These gaps are to be found in the following business areas:

- European investment banking ("We have a greater need to add in Europe," said Handler.)

- Futures execution and clearing, foreign exchange, as well as commodities Sales and Trading. (All 'growth initiatives' related to the acquisition of Prudential Bach)

- Cash equities outside the US, primarily in Asia

- Equity derivatives and electronic trading in Europe

- Infrastructure to support fixed income and equities