Despite the sell off Wall Street this week, mid-level banking executives could profit from the market's latest woes, says one recruiter and M&A professionals may see few tremors, says another.
Last month, financial careers in the U.S. ranked number six in terms of year to date job losses. Government, retailing, defense, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare-in that order-cut the highest number of employees from their ranks last month, according to outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
So, what will this summer hold?
Recruiter Richard Lipstein of Boyden Executive Search in New York predicts that in the wake of the Dow's selloff, and in a market where high-yield trading is at its lowest level since 2008, Wall Street jobs will remain strongest in certain product areas - in M&A (particularly energy, commodities and technology, and the financing that follows, and non-equity and fixed income trading such as commodities, FX and interest rates.
Possibly, Wall Street will lose a higher percentage of jobs than it did last month, when total financial services job cuts across the country reached 3,018, for a January-to-July total of 14,752. In comparison, government, and non-profit businesses lost 86,980 year to date through July, says Challenger, Gray, while retail cut 34,272 jobs, defense cut 27,561 positions, pharmaceutical, 18,264, and healthcare (including health products), axed 15,220 positions.
According to Lipstein, "Wall Street employment tends to move in lock step with the performance of the markets," and given stocks' poor performance this week it would seem that more layoffs are imminent outside of the few selected areas Lipstein mentions.
On the other hand, that could mean major opportunities for low-level and mid-level executives, recruiter Sandy Gross, managing partner and founder of Pinetum Partners in Greenwich, Conn., explained this afternoon on Bloomberg TV, captured on YouTube early this afternoon.
For one thing, Gross believes that today's Labor Department numbers suggest things are moving in a positive direction. Many viewed the numbers as not great but good, with the jobless rate dropping just slightly to 9.1% with the economy adding 117,000 new jobs in July.
Beyond that, Gross says, the companies announcing major job cuts over the past few days including Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC are "large banks that are publicly owed and need to cut cost in order to increase their margins."
Moreover these institutions are for the most part "making cuts at the most senior levels," she told eFinancialCareers in an interview following her television appearance.
"That creates an opportunity for mid-level and more junior bankers," says Gross. Senior bankers, meanwhile, may leave the large banking institutions firms to start new, smaller businesses that are not picked up by official payroll recordkeepers.
Payroll numbers often fail to reflect increases at smaller firms, Gross emphasizes, suggesting that some smaller financial companies as well as multistrategy hedge funds are likely to open their arms to Wall Street's prop traders at this point in time, choosing some of the major banks' best and brightest. "That is a trend that is continuing as prop traders' uncertainty about Dodd-Frank's ramifications continues," Gross says.
Also hiring across the board in many cases, according to Gross, are
(1) Some investment funds focusing on long short equities, especially in technology; and energy
(2) Long only funds; and
(3) Index funds