Yesterday, we reported that JPMorgan is implementing a new policy of asking all hires expected to join the bank in March or April to wait for at least a month before assuming their new roles, during which time the bank will pay them as if they'd joined already. Today, Bloomberg suggests JPMorgan may have gone a step further and implemented an actual hiring freeze which involves pulling all adverts for jobs that don't need to be filled immediately.
JPM isn't commenting on the Bloomberg story, but insiders say it's wrong. - There's isn't a hiring freeze, it's just that as we reported jobs aren't being filled in the next four weeks. The bank's own jobs website shows that various new roles have been posted yesterday and today, including vacancies for a data engineer at VP level in London, a senior coverage banker in San Francisco, a utilities equity researcher in London, and an 'applied research engineer' to work on blockchain, quantum computing and AI - also in London.
While the nightmare of the virus is undoubtedly making hiring harder, some recruitment is therefore still taking place. When we asked today, various banks categorically denied having a hiring freeze now. They include: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.
UBS, HSBC, Credit Suisse and Barclays didn't respond to a request to comment on whether they have a hiring freeze. Bank of America declined to comment on the issue.
None of this is to say that getting a new job is easy now. As staying healthy takes precedence over everything else, some headhunters told us this morning that they're simply taking a three month sabbatical: calling to pitch for business or persuade candidates to move can seem crass in the circumstances. And with interviews necessarily taking place by video it's hard to get a final sign-off anyway.
If hiring is still happening anywhere, however, it's in technology as banks progress with automation plans. One technology MD at JPMorgan told all change initiatives have been put on hold now, but most banks still need to make technology hires as they rely more heavily upon tech infrastructure for working from home. Adam Francis, a senior technology recruiter at Experis says financial markets technology hiring is proving resilent so far, particularly in terms of software engineering. "A handful of buyside and sellside firms have really taken the initiative and seem to be recruiting as much as ever, conducting interviews and onboarding, and even having staff or contractors start remotely from day-one," he adds.
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