Remember all that hullaballoo about research and pitchbook assembly jobs being moved out of London and Wall Street to Mumbai? Well, it now seems that those Indian research jobs are being cut along with junior roles in the West.
"The most noticeable thing about this downturn is the correlation between the job market in London and India," says a credit researcher at one US bank in the City of London. "Researchers in India are also being laid off."
Many of the jobs being culled appear to be at in-house research departments, operated in India by the likes of Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. Last month, the Economic Times reported that Lehman was letting go of 180 staff at its office in Mumbai.
"Several captive operations of investment banks in India are downsizing their operations or triggering mild attrition through lower wage hikes. There is definitely a trend towards right-sizing, although it is not at all as alarming as in the western part of the world," says Sourav Mukherjee, chief exec of Netscribes, a Mumbai-based company offering research services to US banks.
Prasanna Yadav, a recruiter at Chennai-based Dewdrop Career Solutions, says banks in India are hiring fewer analysts, particularly for senior and middle management roles, although demand for juniors remains robust.
However, some third-party research providers in India are convinced that the downturn will play to their strengths. "When a junior guy is laid off in New York, all of a sudden his seniors don't have the junior guy to produce the books," says Joel Perlman, president of Mumbai-based research firm Copal Partners, which received an $11m investment from Merrill Lynch last year.
"In addition, given that it is a recession, the senior guys need to produce many, many more books to generate the same revenue," Perlman adds. "They find themselves without junior guys and in desperate need to prepare more books. So they call people like us."
The incentive for offshoring research jobs is clear: Yadav says top-tier banks pay their junior Indian researchers $7k-$8k per annum. Third-party research providers pay as little as $4k.