Insolvency is where the jobs will be

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It doesn't take a genius to see that 2009's going to be a big year for restructuring. In the past week alone, Deloitte's moved 52 corporate financiers into its restructuring arm, Credit Suisse has formed a restructuring team, and Alvarez and & Marsal has launched a transaction advisory arm to perform due diligence on struggling companies.

Despite all the activity, there don't seem to be many jobs on offer. Instead of hiring externally, most banks and accountancy firms are copying Deloitte and Credit Suisse in re-branding corporate financiers.

"Large organizations are redeploying people into restructuring," says Prue Heron at restructuring and insolvency recruiter Commercial Finance People. "Recruitment isn't going through the roof."

As the year goes on and the economy worsens, Heron instead predicts that insolvency will be where all the jobs are: "Businesses that can't be salvaged will tip over into insolvency."

It's a view shared by Malcolm Cohen, turnaround partner at BDO Stoy Hayward. "Most of the stuff we're doing is insolvency related," says Cohen. "It's not about turnarounds. We need people with insolvency experience."

Becoming a fully licensed insolvency practitioner takes as long as three years, but you can also take shorter introductory and intermediate courses if you want to show willing and do somnething junior in the industry.

Heron says senior corporate financiers who were exposed to insolvencies in the early 1990s might be able to reinvent themselves without having to do the exams. "Because it's more than ten years since widespread insolvencies have been an issue, experience is hard to find," she confides.