Finance Jobs in Canada ‘Starting to Arrive’

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Finance hiring isn’t exactly booming in any locale, but the job market is improving incrementally in Canada, where slowdowns and cutbacks are limited in precarious areas like investment banking. There’s also been a recent uptick in hiring in business units like risk, lending and various back office positions, according to recruiters.

While investment banking revenue is tanking in Europe and parts of Asia, Canadian banks enjoyed a record year, generating $4.5 billion in 2012, accounting for a 7% global share. Debt capital markets and M&A revenues drove most of the growth.

As U.S. i-bankers can attest, revenue growth doesn’t always result in hiring. In fact, in the U.S., it often resulted in job cuts. But the environment is different in Canada, where banks already had a strong regulatory environment in place, said Neil Owen, global practice director for Robert Half Financial Services.

Canada was in a “far stronger position to get through last 14 to 18 months, putting them in better position to do deals,” Owen said. Unlike European banks, Canadian banks “have lots of spare capacity” when it comes to capital requirements. “Job opportunities are starting to arrive,” Owen said, “with a particular focus on succession planning – VPs hiring senior managers, building for the future.”

The uptick in hiring began about eight weeks ago, said Owen. The overall job market for finance professionals has been particularly healthy in January, said Charlene Bergman, manager of banking and financial services at international recruiter Michael Page.

Information technology spending has gone up significantly, leading to a rush of hires, she said. In the banking world, credit risk and internal auditing are getting hot. “There’s greater activity in the back office – there aren’t many non-traditional roles out there.”

Owen has seen a notable increase in hiring in commercial lending and debt financing as the overall economy continues to improve. As with other locales, there are layoffs and redundancies in non-demand areas like fixed income and equities.

Compensation

There are bigger deals in New York and London – and most of the star performers are there – but the pay in Canada “has started in even out a bit” compared to the two main finance capitals, said Owen. You’ll likely receive a 5% premium for working in New York or London, according to Robert Half.

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