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Another wave of layoffs on the way?

Bloomberg reported recently that Citigroup has started to shed staff at its investment banking unit, Nikko Citigroup. According to the report, at least 10% of Nikko Citigroup’s 1,600 staff will face the axe, with 16 positions already cut from the unit’s equity research department.

Nikko Citigroup spokesperson Naomi Watanabe declined to comment on the cutbacks, but did say the company was “always looking for ways to make our organization more efficient and effective”.

It looks as if Japan’s entrenched bankers could be about to face another barrage of layoffs. Goldman Sachs also announced recently that it will be cutting positions in Japan as it looks to jettison some 3,300 staff, or 10% of its workforce, globally (Reuters).

Kyoungjin Lim, manager of finance technology at recruitment firm Pinnacle Consulting, says numerous rumours are circulating about job reductions in the near future at many other banks in Tokyo. “When it comes to rumours of cutting jobs, everyone in the industry can be included,” Lim says, “but some banks pop up more often: HSBC and Deutsche.”

Lim adds that rumours suggest BoA/Merrill are getting ready to wield the axe in January. Meanwhile, Nomura is reviewing its staffing needs after acquiring Lehman Brothers and Commerzbank is likely to cut jobs on the Dresdner side.

Warwick Pearmund, a senior consultant at Boyd & Moore, however, seems confident that the worst is over. “We believe the bulk of redundancies have been seen, but wouldn’t be surprised if minor cuts continue to be made.” And Pearmund adds that although banks aren’t hiring aggressively, some are using the turmoil as an opportunity to find good people. “I have a good number of positions on both the buy and sell side,” he says.

Lim has a warning for anyone who does get laid off: now is the worst time to be trying to find a new position. “From November, most of the companies start preparing for the year-end, when there is a hiring freeze even in good years,” she says.

Comments (2)

  1. Now is a great time to look for opportunities if you are an excellent performer.

    Think about it. There are a number of companies getting rid of their lower percentile. What better way to shine than in the midst of darkness? What better time to look for a position than when you are not being forced to?

    Yes, roles are fewer and further between than we have seen in recent years. Yes, it does take a bit more effort to find suitable positions. Yes, you are taking a risk no matter what firm you may decide to join. However, this is why you need to use a recruiter you trust to get you all the necessary information. Known risk is much easier to manage.

    Point: If you have been let go, you don’t have a choice; look for a new job. If you still have a job but foresee troubled times ahead for your employer, check the market out; it never hurts to investigate your options.

  2. The downturn is actually running in waves. The recent downswing in markets has been forgotten in the media but it’s only a temporary bounce up. Another ‘wave’ will be along probably after Christmas.

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