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Why it's a dangerous time to turn down a banking job

Next time you receive an offer for a new banking job, even if it's not exactly the sort of thing you had in mind, you should probably accept. Especially if you're out of the market. 2020 is shaping up to be a very difficult year indeed.

As banks have reported their third quarter results in recent weeks, it's become apparent that things are worse than anyone previously expected. HSBC's interim CEO was the first to admit as much. "The economic environment we are facing today is very different to the environment when we put together the strategic plan 18 months ago," said Noel Quinn earlier this week. Quinn said he and his team are concocting some "material" and "decisive" changes for 2020 as a result. 

Banks are notoriously herd-like. Quinn's decisiveness may therefore have triggered UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti's sudden decision to talk tough about his plans at UBS. "Nothing is really untouchable,” declared Ermotti on Tuesday. This sounded a lot fiercer than Ermotti's commitment one week earlier to "evolve the business model" and take CHF90m in costs out from the investment bank - a plan which analysts criticised as too tame at the time.

The chill wind has therefore suddenly become a lot chillier and with Goldman Sachs also expected to announce results to a major reorganization early next year, the danger is that banks will goad each other into making ever-bolder changes and ever-greater job cuts in the race to cut costs and reinvest in 'automation.'

For this reason, if you're offered a new job before Christmas, you might want to take it - even if it's not exactly perfect. Something is usually better than nothing at all. And with banks retrenching and restructuring, 2020 could have a lot of the latter.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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