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Cautious candidates coy about changing jobs

Japanese bankers, a risk-averse bunch at the best of times, are becoming even more cautious about moving jobs as the clouds of recession gather over the country. Pessimism about financial markets and the general economy is making them reluctant to jump ship.

“These days people are thinking in greater detail before they consider a new job, not just about the money, but about what it will mean for their career progression over many years,” says James Incles, managing director of Morgan McKinley’s Tokyo office.

Bankers now need extra convincing to change employers, even if a promotion and pay rise are on the cards, according to Gregory Toole, a director at Hudson. Recruiters must be able to explain the finer points of a bank’s business plans to persuade skeptical candidates that they are making the right move.

Toole explains: “It is more and more necessary to give potential candidates a very detailed ‘storyboard’ of the firm and opportunity. This can often include information that is not otherwise readily available to the general public. It highlights the balanced view of a SWOT type analysis.”

So why would anyone want to move in the current market? Incles reckons that in Japan redundancy rumours, as well as actual layoffs, have a large impact. “If people think their firm is struggling then they will put out feelers.”

Toole adds: “They might want to move after being overlooked for promotion because their manager feels obliged to promote an older colleague.”

And employers are getting more careful about who they hire, too. Incles says the recruitment process is often delayed by a few weeks because approvals go higher up the food chain than last year.

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  1. Stay put, guys! Ride out the coming storm. No need to be a financial hero.

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