Forget the credit crunch, pitchbook jockeys are still hot.
Steven Harker, CEO of Morgan Stanley Australia, says, "Junior M&A positions? Yes, we are still all hiring. The value of the market is down, but not the activity."
This time last year, hiring in M&A would hardly have been surprising. Rising M&A activity meant the analysts and associates who devote their time to assembling pitchbooks used to win deals were in big demand. In 2007, for example, Australian M&A volumes doubled to US$406bn (AU$437bn), according to Thomson Financial.
More recently, however, Australia's M&A market has looked like running out of fizz. According to the Business Spectator, January was the slowest month for Aussie M&A for the past two years.
Despite this, recruiters and bankers share Harker's optimism - the market may be slowing, but M&A hiring isn't. Victoria Biggs at JM Search says banks in Australia haven't over-hired in the past few years and there are still gaps to fill.
Sally Kincaid, head of HR at Citi, agrees; "There is no drop off at all, even at that [the junior] level."
Scott Alomes, head of business units HR at Commonwealth Bank Australia, says that if anything, competition for junior banking talent has increased: "So many graduates go overseas that banks always need juniors with some experience."
How much can you earn assembling pitchbooks 10 hours a day? Chris Mamas at recruiter Select Personnel, says the pay's anywhere from AU$80k to AU$120k depending on the firm, with 15-30% bonuses.