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Why Goldman Sachs bankers need new jobs fast: "February will be brutal"

If you were let go from Goldman Sachs yesterday, you probably shouldn't spend too much time licking your wounds. As one ex-GS MD pointed out yesterday, this is unfortunately not the time to be taking a holiday: this is the time to be finding a new job as quickly as possible.

The reasoning is simple. Where Goldman Sachs has gone first, other banks are likely to follow. HSBC and Nomura have already trimmed members of their investment banking teams and other banks are expected to follow soon. "My advice would be to look for something now before the rest of the Street makes cuts through February and March and there's more competition for roles," says Jason Moore at search firm Harrington Moore. 

With European banks typically announcing and paying bonuses in February and March, the head of another investment banking search firm, says next month will see swathes of cuts at European houses. "February will be brutal. We're already being told about thousands of layoffs that are planned," he claims.

While Goldman's job cuts have covered all levels, insiders say analysts, associates and VPs were disproportionately impacted as the firm allegedly focused on extracting headcount by volume. One insider said no partners and MDs in his trading team had been let go: "They cut the lowest cost people."

While fortunate global markets professionals may be able to find new jobs in booming multi-strategy hedge funds, Goldman's junior investment bankers face far more challenging hiring conditions. Investment banking recruiters in London say hiring has slowed to a trickle.

"Vacancies are down 50% on February," says Andy Pringle at investment banking search firm Circle Square. "Clients have become far pickier, and big banks have mostly stopped recruiting." 

Some firms are still hiring, though. Although Pringle says boutiques are also becoming more circumspect, there are opportunities on the buy-side. 2023 is about "patient capital," he says, "private funds, restructuring..." There are also always corporate development roles. 

However, one buy-side headhunter, speaking off the record, says recruitment on the buy-side has also become more feeble. "It's all slowing down at the moment," he tells us. "We're still busy from last year, but there's a much more cautious tone. Funds are becoming more selective and are making fewer hires until they can work out how to exit existing investments and deploy more capital."

Even so, there are a few hiring hotspots. "There's hiring activity in real estate, infrastructure, direct lending and distressed debt," says the headhunter. "Funds also want people with experience of the secondary market as they try to sell investments to other funds."

Finding a new job may depend upon your ability to sell yourself to these employers. "They want top ranked people with specialist knowledge of their investment area," says the headhunter. 

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Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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