Senior level hiring at Japanese banks is in a bit of a slump.
John McCrohon, director of financial services at Robert Walters Japan, says most of the current hiring is at AVP or VP level, with limited activity in the MD and above range.
Mika Nomura, business director at Hays Banking, has also seen very few senior level roles of late. While the market is showing signs of picking up, she says most of the hiring activity in Japanese investment banking and securities is at a junior to mid level.
“Lots of companies have been trying to reduce headcounts and overall running costs, and so many of the senior people on the market last year – people aged over 45 and with 20-plus years of experience – are still looking for work,” she adds.
That, however, doesn’t mean senior level hiring is dead in the water. Some familiar names are on the look out for experienced candidates.
“Following its acquisition of Lehman’s business, Nomura has been quite active in taking on senior level staff in order to facilitate the integration of their new and existing Nomura business. We have also seen a surge of hiring activity in the electronic trading space with companies such as Mizuho and Daiwa being forerunners,” says McCrohon.
But what about compensation and the J banks’ reputation for being less generous than overseas firms with their senior staff?
As Japanese banks continue to try and internationalize and become more competitive with their foreign counterparts, McCrohon says the salary gap between them and foreign firms is narrowing. But while base salaries are becoming more competitive, there is still concern amongst senior candidates regarding bonuses.
“As the business environment normalizes, the ability of Japanese companies to genuinely compete with the foreign institutions on bonus and therefore total compensation packages will be a key criteria as to how effective they will be in hiring the key personnel they are seeking to drive their businesses forward,” says McCrohon.