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How hard is it really to find a job now?

Front office hiring has shut down. It is defunct, kaput, left for dead in the long grass. Depending upon who you speak to, next year will either be a lot better, or far worse.

"Everyone's quietly optimistic that there will be a lot more hiring next year," says a search consultant specializing in equity derivatives at one large headhunting firm. "A lot of people have been hired over the past two years who just haven't delivered. They are going to be let go to make way for upgrading."

On the other hand, Jason Kennedy, head of the equity-focused financial services recruitment firm Kennedy Associates is loudly pessimistic. "Next year will be bad," he says. "There may be some upgrades, but I don't see any additional hiring happening at all. Recruitment is going to fall to 10% of the normal volume because banks are still massively overstaffed. It's like they're running a car showroom that needs 5 salespeople but you currently have 8 people. Hiring can't happen until this has been addressed."

If you're out of the market looking in, trying to catch someone's attention, this can make life hard. Witness comments left on articles on this site recently, such as:

"I've been out of work for sometime and can't even get interviews. Today I was rejected [for a job] which matched my specification, only thing I can think of is that I might be over qualified. I'm now at the stage where it's looking very bleak.


Fighting despair is a daily battle and I'm with ya my friend. I'm even thinking of doing home based day trading.


I have been looking since May and have had 3 interviews since and cant get an assistant role anywhere in the country, it's very difficult.

At the same time, however, middle office recruiters such as Astbury Marsden have been complaining of candidate shortages in areas such as risk and IT.

Is this really true? If you have any comments to make on your experience of the financial services recruitment market now, please leave them below.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Po
    12 September 2011

    Zorro@ "If you're good enough, you'll be fine"- what a load of rubbish! regardless of how good or bad you are, mgmt will draw up a list of leavers. Yes, im sure those who perform better may have a better chance of keeping their jobs, but thats not the case all the time.


  • J.
    J. Scott
    7 September 2011

    @Panagiotis: with rapid GDP growth and accumulating real estate bubble, local equity market is somehow under-performing... With 10% +/- daily limitation and no-shorting-rule, welcome to China, my friend!

  • Pa
    6 September 2011

    @NeverGiveUp: I totally agree with you for Greece, but also a country with 9.1% deficit and a 148.9% of GDP should never be allowed to host Olympics, notably UK.

    Some of them mentioned to do something on your own, with consumer spending in downward trend and companies trying to hoarding cash instead of spending/investing I have some very serious doubts about your new enterprise, except if you have as a target the Asian markets or a BRIC country.

    And for the Asian markets, notably China, it is still very difficult to be employed and to invest if you are not a Chinese. They will really open their market after their shadowed bubble is busted...

    However, I believe that we are in front of a once-in-a-generation shift from West to East, (with no wars!). Still most of the highly-educated are in the West and are inevitably trapped. So be ready to be flexible for all your life, with nothing permanent and to steadily lower your living expectations. And try to forget any government giving you any adequate pensions (if you will be eligible to any of them).

    If some of us choose something more risky and succeed, it does not mean much anyway as the majority are going to have the reali

  • Ma
    Matt Mayham
    6 September 2011

    I am working in M&A and my firm is finding it difficult to close deals, so its a tough environment.
    All this talk about if you are good you will get employed is quite rubbish. If the big bulge investment banks were so good why did the Motorola-Google deal and HP-Autonomy deal slip the big banks. If the clients are saying you are rubish then you are. No amount of saying that yes we work in big brand name reputable bank will cover for your poor skills especially client relationship.

  • br
    6 September 2011

    I have no idea that things could get so bad and it is looking even grimmer. It is not anymore about your experiences, skills, academics or reputation for majority of us. It is simply about the survival of the fittest. Financial Services is looking gloomy, and for many years to come, and this is down to several factors such as outsourcing, low productivity, cashflow and lack of confidence. I have been searching for work for months & been told on several interviews I am over qualified. But we must not give us, otherwise what's the point. Looking at the economic for the past 18 months, I must say the outlook is dire strait. The european crisis, sovereign debt, unemployment, cuts and simply not enough jobs for skilled, competent individuaI .I am afraid we are in for some tough times- ahead 1929,2008 , Greece crisis,European & US all rolls into one. But this is where it becomes, survival of the fittest and every man for himself. If you can't find a job, maybe its time to create something new. Thats where my action plan is leading. I won't be defeated and neither should any of you.

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