eFinancialCareers Q4 2011 Job barometer: A tale of two halves

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eFinancialCareers' latest job barometer reveals top performers and decliners.

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Business as usual is not an option for banks and financial institutions as they grapple with a changing operating environment,” comments James Bennett, Managing Director for EMEA and APAC.

By late 2010, the global banking and finance industry had demonstrated its resilience, and by mid-2011, most of the numbers depicted an industry that had emerged from the 2008 financial crisis. By the second half of 2011, however, banks and financial institutions were impacted by the sovereign crisis in Europe and the depressed global economic outlook. The number of job opportunities for finance professionals in the UK, Continental Europe and APAC in 2011 mirrored the market, posting growth in the first half of the year, followed by a decline in the second half. In those regions, the number of job opportunities increased 4% year-on-year for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, from 7,254 average daily job postings in Q4 2010 to 7,515 in Q4 2011. Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth (+6%) over the period, followed by Continental Europe (+4%) and the UK (+2%).

Chart : Average daily job postings in the UK, Continental Europe and Asia Pacific, Q4 2010 and Q4 2011 (please contact press office if you are unable to view the table)

Source: eFinancialCareers

Moderate growth in the UK

The number of job postings for finance professionals in the UK showed an overall year-on-year growth of 2% in the fourth quarter of 2011. The number of job opportunities declined by 8% from Q3 to Q4 2011. In a ‘normal’ market environment, recruitment activities in the Front office tend to slow down in the last quarter of the year as professionals wait for their bonus payouts before making a move. On the recruiter side, this is an expensive period to hire as they need to buy out a large proportion of their bonus to snap up top talent. This quarter’s slowdown, however, is more likely to be a reflection of the market uncertainty rather than costs or bonuses.

Top sectors advancers and decliners

When looking at Q4 2011 over the preceding quarter, positive growth in the number of job opportunities was recorded in private equity/venture capital (+6%), hedge funds (+ 6%), and compliance/legal (+5%).

Three sectors registered strong losses over the same period: operations (-28%), consultancy (-23%) and equities (-20%).

Table: Top sector Advancers and Decliners in the UK, % change in job postings by sector, Q4 2011/Q3 2011

Private Equity / Venture Capital    6%    Operations    -28%
Hedge funds    6%    Consultancy    -23%
Compliance/Legal    5%    Equities    -20%
Source: eFinancialCareers

The private equity sector has been more reluctant to make redundancies than other areas of finance, and has instead encouraged a proportion of partner level employees to retire to make cost-savings. This has prompted some internal promotions and therefore a need to recruit externally to replace those moving up. eFinancialCareers is also seeing pockets of hiring activity within certain sub-sectors, notably distressed-focused investors and for private equity professionals with mid-market experience.

Banks and financial services firms have been deluged with a number of new regulatory initiatives, which has increased the burden on their compliance teams. In the past, banks were reluctant to hire for non-revenue generating positions, but mandatory regulation has placed too great a strain on their compliance teams and they have been forced to bolster these divisions.

Hedge funds performance was badly affected throughout 2011, but some smaller funds have held up relatively well and a raft of start-ups throughout the year has ensured a steady uplift in the number of roles. While the larger funds have cut back headcount in recent months, there are still opportunities within technology and operational functions.

Demand for operations professionals has suffered most over the period, recording a decrease of 28% in the fourth quarter of 2011. Banks have been looking for cost-efficiencies through streamlining their operational functions. Very often this means combining back office teams across multiple platforms, a shared services model, or offshoring (or near-shoring) these functions to cheaper locations.

“It is clear that business as usual is not an option for banks and financial institutions as they grapple with a changing operating environment,” comments James Bennett, Managing Director for EMEA and APAC. “Ongoing concern surrounding the Eurozone sovereign debt and the volatility of the stock markets have ‘darkened the moods’, and as a result, the City’s recruitment activities have been focused more on replacement and restructuring hiring rather than new hires. Looking forward into 2012, eFinancialCareers believes this pattern of recruitment activity will continue until there is more clarity on some of the issues impacting financial services.”

Notes to editors

The eFinancialCareers Quarterly Barometer tracks

UK positions advertised on eFinancialCareers in sectors where there is a minimum level of 300 advertised jobs a month for the quarter. Sectors qualifying for the UK Barometer for the three months ended 31 December 2011 were Private Equity / Venture Capital, Investment Banking / M & A, Sales & Marketing, Corporate Banking, Credit, Consultancy, Research, Trading, Debt / Fixed Income, Hedge Funds, Accounting & Finance, Commodities, Derivatives, Information Technology, Equities, FX & Money Markets, Asset Management, Capital Markets, Quantitative Analytics, Compliance / Legal, Risk Management, Private Banking / Wealth Management, Operations.

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with eFinancialCareers, please contact:

Anne Bourgeois
abourgeois(at)efinancialcareers(dot)com
M: +44 (0) 7432 736 221

About eFinancialCareers
eFinancialCareers, a Dice Holdings, Inc. service, is the leading global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries. The website provides financial services professionals with job opportunities, job market news and analysis, salary surveys and career advice. Recruiters and employers can post jobs targeting specific sectors within the financial services industry, both buy-side and sell-side, and can search the resume database for highly qualified and specialized professionals. eFinancialCareers has a network of co-branded career sites with industry-leading trade publications and offers local websites in 19 markets and five languages primarily across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. http://www.eFinancialCareers.co.uk

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Anne Bourgeois