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Financial recruitment in Japan starts to suffer

Financial services recruiters in Tokyo are still sounding the warning bells for job hunters. One senior Tokyo-based recruiter, who asked not to be named, says companies are doing much less hiring at present compared to expectations six to 12 months ago.

And he cautions that companies will also be looking to reduce pay packages this year. “Sensible people should expect compensation to be down. Some people are expecting total compensation to be down 20-30%,” the recruiter adds.

At Hays in Tokyo, recruiter Guy Howard is also cautious: “Candidates should be more career focused in this market and set realistic expectations on salary. The process even for a strong candidate in this market takes longer, so patience is a virtue,” he adds.

James Incles, manager at recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, however, is confident that strong candidates can still secure good compensation. “Excellent candidates are still achieving increases of up to 15% on their basic salary when moving roles,” he adds.

On the whole Incles remains upbeat about financial services hiring. “While those areas worst affected by the credit crunch have adopted a more cautious approach to hiring, in sectors which have had less exposure, such as asset management, private banking and private equity, there are still good levels of demand.”

One anonymous source at an international bank gives another twist to the story. “As part of a foreign financial group, we could be cutting jobs in line with quotas set overseas,” the source says.

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