Is Australia awash with expats fleeing slaughter in the City? Well, yes, it seems many suddenly have remembered the joys of home, particularly those in securitization. But leaving London doesn't always lead to a great job in Aus.
Emilie Everett, UBS's country head of recruiting, has noticed more CVs than normal from people wanting to come back. "They have not lost their jobs, and are from all levels of seniority, though most have been away at least five years," she says.
Rene Thompson, at recruiters Derwent Executive, agrees: "We've seen a noticeable increase in Aussies returning, especially since January, after banking their bonuses. Most are coming from London, though there are some from the US and Asia."
Recent returners include heavy-hitter Tony Burgess, Deutsche Bank's global head of mergers and acquisitions, who's retiring down under, according to a statement from the bank.
The strength of the Australian dollar and vanishing overseas bonuses make home-grown jobs more appealing. But Sandra Rowlingson at Bluefin Resources says candidates' salary expectations can be way out of whack, perhaps understandably as they are often overqualified for what's on offer.
And not all the comeback kids will even get the jobs they want. Australian banks aren't aggressively hiring just yet, they're only talking about it, says Chris Mamas at Select Personnel. "And the problem is," says Blaise Habgood at Bradman Recruitment, "people from securitization and debt are looking offshore, but debt is dead here too, so the jobs don't exist."
So what should the securitization stars do to land jobs back in Aus? "At a senior level, with securitization experience, it will be harder to transfer into other areas. Candidates with project and infrastructure or leveraged finance experience would be more in demand," comments Christine Kwan at Derwent Executive.
Not all recruiters are convinced that a huge wave of London refugees is about to hit our shores. Fiona Weeks at Platinum Pacific Partners says many of the high-level bankers she's been headhunting there aren't interested in coming back. Simon Tobin of Michael Page has seen a slight increase, but certainly "no deluge".