Are City Firms Really Hiring ?

The Evening Standard reports that investment banks in the City are up in recruitment mode. The newspaper says that the 'wave of floations and strong merger and acquisition activity' has prompted firms like Deutsche, Goldman, JP Morgan and Lehman to push the boat out again. But is this really true ?

Ask any City recruiter and they will tell you that they are really busy - I've yet to meet any recruiter who admits to having nothing to do. There is doubtless more activity on the City recruitment front, but this is all relative - almost nothing was going on, save perhaps in fixed income, this time last year and so any activity results in some improvement. And although the equity market is recovering and there are more M&A deals in the offing, business across the board remains fairly modest, particularly in Europe.

Where firms are short, however, is at the analyst level and it is not uncommon these days to see fairly seasoned bankers running the numbers on potential deals. Some recruitment is doubtless going on at the more junior end. And whilst it is true, as the newspaper points out, that Merrill Lynch is to hire 650 brokers in the next year or so, most will taken on in the US. So, although firms are selectively hiring and now perhaps have the cash available for good quality opportunistic hires, the floodgates are not yet open and City staff anxious for a move may have to wait a while yet.

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