How bad is it out there? Very, according to various analyst reports on the state of the banking industry. Nor will it get better soon.
Last week, analysts at Bernstein Research issued a note on Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley suggesting that the revenue recovery they'd predicted for 2012 won't happen until 2013. Analysts at BarCap in the US issued a similarly gloomy prognostication for the quarter just gone: they think revenues at bulge bracket investment banks could be down anything from 35-60% sequentially in the third quarter; M&A revenues are expected to be down up to 30%, equity underwriting revenues down 60%, debt underwriting revenues down 40%, FICC down 40%, and equities revenues down, "markedly."
What does this mean for hiring, now and next year? We published the verdict of several senior headhunters recently. Since then, recruiters insist things have become very, very slightly better.
"The volume of CVs we're getting and the quality of candidates coming through are increasing," says the director of one recruitment firm. "From our perspective, this should be
good for 2012."
"We're not hearing that banks will extend their hiring freezes into 2012, and in the past few weeks the volume of jobs we're getting has picked up marginally," says Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.
Equally promisingly, the COO of one top search firm in the City insists that the recruitment pessimism for 2012 really is overdone. "Personally, I don't think 2012 is going to be as bad as people think," he told us. "It's not going to be as good as this year and it's definitely going to be hard, but 2012 won't be a horrendous. Banks are still going to be hiring and a lot of people are going to leave after bonuses are paid."