2014 is hot, very hot. So say banking recruiters, who claim to be sweltering beneath the weight of a steaming job market.
"The whole market has picked up," says Logan Naidu, chief executive of recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners. "We’ve seen the best start to the year for five – or even ten – years."
"This is a very busy start," agrees Barry Seath, chief executive of hedge fund-focused Mirage Recruitment. "It harks back to 2007 - it's definitely very buoyant out there. There's a real war for talent on."
Naidu and Seath both recruit for front office banking roles, but their exuberance reflects a recent report by middle office-focused recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, which claimed there were 7,623 new job vacancies in the City of London in January, an increase of 86% on December. On a similarly enthusiastic note, a recent study by CityUK suggested 12,700 jobs will be created in the City of London in 2014.
Seath claims multiple job offers and and buybacks are a thing again in the hedge fund recruitment market. However, Naidu says most banks are unwilling (or unable) to raise pay in order to lure new recruits. Instead, it's all about moving jobs for prestige. "The expectation is that candidates will upgrade and move from tier two to tier one, or tier three to tier two,” he says.
Not all headhunters are equally ebullient, however. One, who deals with senior bankers and requested that he remain anonymous, said there are spots of hiring but that it's by no means a rerun of the good old days. "There's a lot of interviewing as people try to persuade senior management to hire, but there are still cuts going on too. You'll see six people hired and five let go."