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Just how much movement will there be in early 2011?

After the winter bonus often comes the move. But will lingering concerns over the GFC mean bankers once again will be hesitant to enter the early year job market in 2011? Or will next year see much more movement than ’09 and ’10?

Bruce Lepore, country manager at T2 Tokyo, says judging by 2010, bankers might already be coming out of their safety zones.

“2010 was not a terrible year for movement in the Japan market. Certainly there was pent-up supply of talent during the GFC, but several people made moves during 2010. The volume of hires across the market was less than in 2006 or 2007, before the GFC, but I wouldn’t say that people are still in a mindset of riding out the storm,” he says.

Looking ahead to next year, Lepore expects supply will continue to outstrip demand across many functions, making it challenging for job seekers, particularly operations and technology roles. But there will be opportunities.

“In certain areas there will be intense competition for talent. Sales will be the focus for most securities firms, as opposed to trading or IBD. Certain business support functions such as compliance, audit and other regulatory areas will also be of import for most of the foreign banks operating here,” says Lepore.

And he isn’t the only person who thinks things could be looking up. “There is a palpable sense that the worst is over and that 2011 cannot fail to be an improvement on 2010, but there are not necessarily any great expectations that we are anywhere near back to normal,” says Toni Kitchaixankul, a senior consultant at Legal Futures.

Kitchaixankul points to an uptick in roles and says people are less fearful of looking around at opportunities. But while this might mean more movement early next year than in early 2010, there is no great expectation for significant increases in salaries.

“One noticeable shift in the ‘new normal’ is people being far less demanding about the salary aspects and being much more concerned about security and stability issues, although of course this may well change as the global economy gathers momentum,” she says.

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