If you are out of work, or working at RBS, or about to get paid nothing or nearly nothing at UBS, then this may come as quite wonderful news: there were 4,050 new financial services jobs created in London in January.
At least, so says recruitment firm Astbury Marsden, which has run a few calculations based upon the number of jobs on its books and its estimated market share.
Where are these 4,050 new roles? Not at big banks, explains Asbury Marsden MD Jonathan Nicholson. “80% of our business is now from non-core investment banks,” he told us. “It’s the small and mid-sized players in the banking domain and the asset management and brokerage space who are trying to take advantage of a market in which the big investment banking players are conspicuous by their absence.
“No one is hiring in big numbers,” he adds. “It’s just four or five at a time.”
Really? This would seem to imply that there are around 800 small players hiring four or five people each. Who are they? Where are they? Nicholson didn’t say. But he did say that the ratio of good candidates to roles is increasing: “We now have around five workable A-B range candidates for each role,” he said. “In a normal market, they’d have a chance of securing something, but these are pretty torrid times.”
By nature, recruitment at small and mid-sized players is dispersed and low key.
We’ve highlighted some of the smaller places that are hiring already. They include the likes of: Shore Capital; Redburn, Numis, Peel Hunt, Aldermore, Jefferies (still, probably), VTB Capital, or hedge funds like Graham Capital.
Lazard may also be recruiting. Chief executive Kenneth Jacobs declared yesterday that: "Our view in regards to hiring has always been: you do it when people aren't."
And if you have an aversion to small players with their small salaries and insistence that you do your own photocopying? There may still be some hiring at the big houses this year. But not much.
UBS’s results help illuminate where big bank hiring is and isn’t going to be happening. Rates, FX, and prime services are doing well. Recruiters say the same applies at other firms. Expect hiring here (if sign-off can be forced through).
By comparison, ECM had an atrocious fourth quarter, both at UBS and elsewhere. Don’t count on getting hired quickly if you’re a capital markets professional.
UBS issued gloomy guidance for the first quarter today, suggesting 2012 will be no panacea for big banks’ woes. “Traditional improvements in first-quarter activity levels and trading volumes may fail to materialise fully, which would weigh on overall results for the coming quarter, most notably in the investment bank," it informed investors.
"None of the larger banks we work with are making investment hires this year," Nicholson informed us. "There's a small amount of hiring from large big players, but it's a drop in the ocean compared to the usual levels of demand."
If you want to get hired this year, it may be therefore be with a financial services SME, or not at all.