The message from Tokyo’s recruiters is simple: now is not a good time to be looking for an IT job in finance.
Bruce Lepore at Talent2 says current IT hiring levels are significantly lower than 12 months ago, with banks only hiring for IT positions that are “mission critical”. Shannon Pascoe of The Specialized Group says IT roles have been in a slump since the effects of sub-prime hit in late 2007. “We saw a number of banks freeze hiring then, and from around February to May saw a number of banks let people go in IT,” Pascoe says.
With competition high for each position Pascoe says candidates need strong technical skills and finance experience. Lepore adds that software related roles, either development or support, almost always require both financial and IT skills. Infrastructure positions however can sometimes be filled with people from outside the industry, so long as they have the personality characteristics that will allow them to thrive in a fast-paced work environment.
Eric Donohoe at Hays offers hope to candidates coming from non-finance backgrounds: he says some developer roles he has seen don’t require finance experience or strong Japanese skills.
Prospects are not hopeful as far as compensation levels are concerned, however. Donohoe predicts total comp will be down “somewhat significantly” this year. And that wouldn’t surprise Pascoe, who adds that some banks may take advantage of the new candidate-rich market and offer slightly deflated base salaries for junior roles. Top performers shouldn’t worry, though, as Donohoe expects the top third to continue to command good bonuses