Commodities: hiring is falling too

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With commodities prices falling and the markets slowing, demand for commodity traders in Australia is also quieting down.

But while hiring is no longer hot, commodity traders are not being laid off in droves either, according to Geoff Officer, CEO of outplacement firm The Donington Group. "We are not seeing any [redundancies], though we are seeing some realignments within investment banks."

Samuel Gilbert, at Tardis Group, does not think recruitment will pick up until next year, while Warren Price, at Select Personnel, says demand has definitely slowed, even for excellent candidates.

"It is a small and tight community, and often word of mouth is what gets people jobs. The banks hire directly," says one recruiter who asked not to be named.

Those traders who can't get a job at a bank can either trade for themselves, or take commission-only work, where they get about 50% of any deals they make.

Jonathan Barratt, at Commodity Broking, an Australian online trading company, comments: "There are a few [commodity] jobs going - mostly in clearing and management roles rather than as traders - but basically companies have pulled their horns in a bit. If you've got a job, you shut up and sit down."

Barratt says there is different demand for physical and paper traders. The latter are sought after, but their skills are less transferable because their product knowledge (of gold, or pork, or whatever) is so specialised. For paper traders, it's the reverse - there's less demand, but they can transfer to fields such as foreign exchange.

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