Strategists needed to help survive the markets

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Black Tuesday saw panic selling wipe over AU$100bn off share prices. Will oscillating equity markets feed demand for strategists to help make sense of the ride?

The events of 22 January 2008 are sure to leave a mark on the Aussie share market. Though it recovered towards the end of that week, it has since deteriorated again. What will happen next? It's down to strategists to predict.

Adnan Kucukalic, strategist for Credit Suisse, says the short term outlook isn't great, but improvements may be on the cards for six months' time: "If the recent spate of interest rate cuts in the US proves effective, we could see a rebound in the second half of this year. Either way, 2008 is not expected to be a stellar year for equities either in Australia, or globally."

With equities markets gyrating wildly, strategists who can make head or tail of them are likely to be popular.

However, strategy jobs aren't easy to come by. Recruiter Meredith Jordan, of Jon Michel Executive Search, says opportunities are limited: "Each analyst team only has two or three [equity strategists] and they tend to be senior people."

An equity strategist with five years' experience can earn up to AU$150k, with bonuses up to 70% of salary.

However, frightened by the prospect of a difficult year, most banks have put the brakes on hiring, whether it's of strategists or any other kind of staff, says Mary Grant, principal consultant in recruitment firm Hudson's banking and finance division: "Employers have gone hold your horses and some of them are in damage control. February will be very quiet. Depending on the scaremongering about a recession, [recruitment] might pick up after that."

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