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Editor’s take: Being out of work can make you more employable

If you’re one of the many thousands of people who’ve been laid off in the City of London this year, one thing’s for certain: you won’t be getting a bonus. While this obviously has grave disadvantages for your personal solvency, it also means that if a bank wants to hire you it won’t have to buy you out. And as the year goes on, this may work to your advantage.

Although bonuses obviously won’t be huge for 2008, most people still in employment seem to think they’re going to get one. On the now rare occasion that a bank wants to poach someone, headhunters say this is causing problems.

“It’s a very difficult negotiation and the two parties are starting a very long way apart,” says Lee Thacker, at search firm Silvermine Partners. “Candidates who are still in seats are trying to justify their demands for guaranteed payouts to replace what they claim to be walking away from. But most hiring banks are of the opinion that bonuses will be non-existent this year and are therefore unwilling to buy people out.”

Step into this situation as a now idle ex-banker with no bonus complications, and you could start to look relatively alluring.

Gareth Hughes, head of HR at Royal Bank of Canada, which has been picking up staff on the street, confirms that the absence of bonus issues can act in favour of leisured ex-bankers: “Cost is never the only consideration, but if you’re making a decision between hiring someone now without a guarantee, or waiting to hire someone until the new year when their bonus has been paid, the ability to hire someone immediately for less money is often attractive.”

The window of opportunity may, however, be short. Unless business picks up soon, sought-after candidates who are still in employment may also reach the conclusion that bonuses will be negligible this year. Once this happens, they too may be willing to move on for nothing, or close to it. And that will deprive unemployed bankers of one of the few advantages they have left.

Comments (11)

  1. There are also other ways of making the best of gaps in employment. It’s worth using time to polish up your skills, and rewrite your CV.

  2. Travel, get a new job in a foreign land and update your CV accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. The agencies are bad enough, they’ll dump your CV in the bin on the first sign of a gap!

  3. Totally agree with John. Most of the big agencies are not worth the effort. It’s “who you know” that will get you re-employed. Fine tune your CV, keep your business network alive by meeting colleagues and friends after work. and only use niche agencies if you have to. A company would rather hire somebody direct than pay a chunk of commission to an agency.

  4. Learn a foreign language, get out of your comfort box but dont do nothing. Consultants in agencies have to meant sales target you are just another piece of meat to them. Apply direct to companies, you might find it difficult but you are being proactive.

    Charles Morgan Reply
  5. If you have a gap on your CV and you are a bloke, it is viewed negatively. Ok …… so does that extend to women taking maternity leave ??

  6. Disagree. if you get laid off, its time for some serious dossing. Wake at noon and bake, stroll around town, catch up with friends, drink too much…and forget about everything for about 2 weeks. Wait for the shame to kick in…give up drinking, smoking and start to eat as healthily as possible. Start a rigorous exercise regime – not just a jog but long runs and swims. Perhaps some yoga to refocus the mind.The sudden lift into the healthy world will propel you onward to do all the mind numbingly tedious things needed to look for a job. All the time, stay fit whilst looking. It will give you the confidence and patience to put up with the idiots who will interview you. Land job eventually. Make sure you have a week or 2 to repeat the ealier debauched lifestyle just for the hell of it. Stop. Get fit and start work.

  7. Well spoken John…The European Investment Bank and European Commission are hiring and UK nationals can also look for work in 31 other European Countries – Hungary,Belgium,Portugal,Norway,Slovenia,Malta,Liechtenstein,
    Lithuania,Estonia etc inclusive………….

  8. efinancialcareers will never publish this (because recruitment agencies pay their bills) but if you are out of work and need a job then take the time to apply to the employer directly…they all have career sites…

    Cost control focus is now a massive focus and not carrying a 25% head hunter fee is a massive advantage!

    Recruitment Veteran Reply
  9. eFinancialCareers runs direct adverts from investment banks and financial services employers as well as from recruitment agencies. You can visit individual banks’ job websites, or…you can see all their jobs aggregated here.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  10. Well John…a word of fairness, agencies do offer some advantages. If you have a gap in your CV that’s reasonable then at least the consultant is there to further convince the employer so. Positively, not everyone is able to express or highlight their skillset effectively. That’s when the consultants get in the picture (and get crackin’).

  11. Being out of work can make you more employable !!!!

    That’s got to be the funniest thing I have ever read !

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