It appears to be tougher than ever to get into investment banking, but some firms are actually recruiting more this year

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Editor's note: This article is from our UK site but is applicable here as well.

With investment banking layoffs hitting more experienced bankers, analysts increasingly pursuing other options and the sector supposedly losing its allure to graduates, it's possible to surmise that the industry faces a talent shortage in a few years.

This is unlikely to be the case, however.

Bloomberg has just published an article suggesting that graduates are as keen as ever to break into investment banking, that banks themselves have been eagerly recruiting on campus this year, but that the dream of working in the industry is becoming increasingly elusive for most people.

"If I get knocked back, fine, I just keep on trying," said one graduate who had 25 applications rejected before securing an internship. "If it doesn't work out in investment banking in the UK, I would look to Asia or emerging market countries. Investment banking is all I want to do."

Breaking into investment banking has always been tough, there were more than 230 applications for every vacant job last year according to figures from the Associate of Graduate Recruiters. However, it's questionable whether banks are taking their foot off the gas when it comes to the pipeline of graduate recruits.

Some banks have decreased their intake for 2011/12 - Barclays Capital is recruiting 250 people this year, compared to around 300 in 2010/11, and BNP Paribas CIB has reduced its intake from 300 to 200 this year.

Most, however, have kept graduate numbers stable, even those reducing headcount elsewhere. Deutsche Bank is recruiting 700 across all divisions, JP Morgan is hiring 300, RBS is taking on 450 for its GBM division and UBS is recruiting 300 in EMEA excluding Switzerland.

Some investment banks are even upping their graduate recruitment, however. Citi plans on taking on more than the 250 it hired in 2010/11, Credit Suisse could increase its intake to 300 (from 275 last year), HSBC has upped its figure from 200 to 250 and Morgan Stanley intends to hire 350-400 full-time analysts (compared to 250 last year).

These figures could be subject to change if things take a turn for the worse, of course, but for the time being it's not looking too bad for aspiring investment bankers.

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