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Risk recruitment runs dry

Thinking of doing something risky? You might want to think again. The message from Tokyo’s recruiters is that risk management hiring is flat.

Ravshan Kayumov, a financial banking consultant at Legal Futures, says he has fewer than 10 risk-related jobs at present compared to 25 or 30 a year ago as banks opt for internal transfers and senior-level recruitment to meet their RM needs. “Companies are not looking for junior or mid-level hires, they are looking for senior-level candidates,” Kayumov adds. “The market is only for people with relevant experience.”

Pete Millett, director of People Services International, says hiring levels in credit, market and operational risks have “trended down at levels proportional to the current economic contraction”. One unnamed recruiter says his firm has even stopped dealing with risk-related jobs.

Every cloud, however, does have a silver lining. Bulge bracket cutbacks haven’t led to redundancies in RM that can compare to the recent subprime-related slashing conducted elsewhere by the likes of Morgan Stanley, UBS and Lehman. “Generally, risk management people have not been laid off when compared to other areas,” Kayumov says. “Companies still need RM.”

Given that need, deflated hiring levels are a surprise for some recruiters.

“The real mystery to me is why hiring levels in these three crucial areas have in fact trended down, when it was in part a lack of oversight of credit, operational and market risks in the first place that helped lead to the current downturn and erosion of financial firms’ stock values on the market,” says Millett.

Credit, market and operational risk compensation

Mid level: 3-6 years’ exp, 9m-12m + 1m-1.5m bonus

Senior level: 6-9 years’ exp, 13m-16m + m-3m bonus

Head of department: 10+ years’ exp, 17m-20m + 2m-3m bonus.

Source: Legal Futures

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