Does chaos in the credit markets spell doomsday for jobs?
"It's too soon to tell,'' says James Nicholson, director of recruiter Robert Walters. "Macquarie and BNP Paribas are two of our big clients and there have been no directives changing their hiring strategy. But, if this tumult gets worse, I would expect it to have a big effect.'
Edmund Gill at recruiter Hays also says it's too soon to call, but if there are changes, it will be that fewer permanent staff are hired and more temporaries take their place: ''It will have a bigger effect, sooner, on high-risk mortgage lenders and on small investment management companies and hedge funds, but Australia has very few of these.''
Private 'equiteers' say the market was overpriced and see this as a return to reality which will balance things. Ken Allen, senior adviser at UBS, says the credit crunch means money will be less available, but "the correction makes things cheaper, so people won't need to borrow as much.''
And will it affect bankers' wealth? "Not on your nelly!'' they yell. But paper losses are big. Macquarie Bank's shares (which make up a fair proportion of its employees' remuneration) fell 7.6% last week and its US Fortress funds lost up to 25%. Given that Macquarie employees can trade its shares only three times a year (after results announcements and the AGM), they certainly were stuck with paper losses. At least they still have their jobs.