There are only nine working days until the end of the third quarter. If you’re looking for a job in banking before the end of 2013, time is therefore running out. Traditionally, the fourth quarter has been a quiet time for bank hiring – banks sit back, take stock and try hard to avoid adding any costs before the end of the year. ”The shutters usually come down in October,” says Thomas Stoddart, associate director at recruitment firm Eximius Finance.
How can you sidestep the seasonal slowing? There are seven reasons a bank might hire you before the end of December, and they are as follows.
1. You’re cheap and unemployed
“In the fourth quarter, banks will often hire people who are out of the market,” says a director at one London search firm, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They’re a bit distressed, they’re immediately available and they’re not going to be funny about losing a bonus at a current employer.”
Bankers who are in jobs already are unwilling to move in the fourth quarter because they don’t want to walk away from the accumulated bonuses which they’ll be paid in early 2014, agrees Oliver Rolfe at search firm Spartan Partners. “If banks want to hire someone who’s still in the market, they’re usually going to have to buy them out at this time of the year,” says Rolfe. Alternatively, he says banks will often simply reach an agreement to hire people once bonuses have been banked (although this may be March 2014, onwards).
If you’re out of the market, now is therefore the time to make a big deal about your immediate availability and your cheapness.
2. You’ll bring a revenue stream
A bank will find it worthwhile hiring you at this time of the year if you can bring a stream of revenues which will outweigh your costs. Salespeople with established clients are popular for this reason.
“I have banks saying that they have six or seven accounts which aren’t being properly covered and they need someone who already has these under coverage to cover them ASAP,” says Rolfe.
3. Line managers need to use or lose their headcount
There’s also a tradition of knee-jerk hiring at this time of the year. Managers who were told they could hire earlier in the year and still haven’t done so yet will often try speeding things along so that new recruits are made before headcount allowance is taken away. “Some of what we’re seeing now is hiring that’s been in the pipeline since March,” says one headhunter. “It’s just taken a while to execute.”
4. You’re going for a job in the middle or back office
Hiring in the middle and back office has traditionally been less seasonal than hiring in the front office. People in finance, compliance and operations receive smaller bonuses and are therefore less bothered about leaving them behind when they move to new jobs a few months before bonuses are paid out. This makes them easier and cheaper to recruit.
5. You’re working on an important regulatory project
Banks will hire you on December 20th if you’re needed for an important project with a looming deadline – especially if it’s technical in nature.
Stoddart at Eximius he’s seeing a lot of demand for accountants to work on the transition toIFRS 9, a new system accounting for financial assets which is due for implementation before 2015.
6. Someone’s left a big hole which needs to be filled
Banks will hire late in the year if an important member of staff has left for a rival or unexpectedly announced an intention to spend more time with his/her family. For example, Credit Suisse has just lost the head of its UK business to UKFI. In this case, we suspect it will look for a replacement internally.
7. You’re applying to small and obscure banks
Small banks and boutiques are more likely to indulge in late season hiring than big ones. Headhunters say that Lloyds, Mitsubishi, Credit Agricole and Toronto Dominion all have the flexibility to hire in fixed income, for example. They won’t pay guarantees though.