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A long cold summer for investment banking jobs

If you lost your investment banking job in the past few months, you may to have a rest before you look for a new one. Most senior people in the market are writing off the job market until September, at least. 

"The summer is always quiet, and this summer is quieter than ever," says one senior London headhunter who covers senior M&A roles in the City. "The only place that's hiring is Deutsche Bank."

Bankers who've lost their jobs have reached the same conclusion. One MD on the beach said he's literally going to the beach. "I don't think (m)any pure advisory banks are hiring. Most are letting people go." Even Deutsche Bank isn't recruiting, in his opinion: "They were hiring, but are now busy with the Numis integration."

Although hiring is slow, recruiters are still working the summer phones and they say candidates are keen. In fact, they're abnormally so. "We're targeting all the banks that are cutting people," says Andy Pringle at search firm Circle Square. "They're a lot more receptive - it used to be that you'd approach 100 people and five would say yes. Now, it's more like 20." Another headhunter said it's "a buyer's market:" "You advertise a junior job, you'll get hundreds of CVs."

Juniors at some of the banks cutting this summer confirm that they are disaffected with their employers and would be open to moving. "This totally goes against what they said about not hiring and firing," one Rothschild junior in London told us, complaining that many of the layoffs seemed motivated by "office politics" and a failure to win deals. 

When will bankers be needed again? "When the financing market normalizes," says the MD. "Difficult to say when that will be, late '23, early '24?". Outwardly banks are bullish, but behind the scenes they are less so. "I met with a couple of senior bankers in the past week and they were much gloomier than I expected," says one headhunter. "The pipeline is bad."

Cuts are likely to continue, particularly at UBS/Credit Suisse, which is reportedly cutting unwanted Credit Suisse staff from July. And yet, there are sniffs of hiring still. Barclays has MD-sized gaps to fill in New York. Santander, Jefferies and others are plucking senior staff, especially from Credit Suisse. 

And yet not all juniors are jumping to get back in. Many have a few years of bonuses behind them and are happy to sit out the summer and bide their time, says Logan Naidu at search firm Dartmouth Partners. Being too idle may be a mistake, though. You need to stay busy, says Pringle: you'll need something to talk about when you next get an interview, even if it is just helping a friend set up a sandwich shop in between lying on the sand.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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