In Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York and most everywhere else, many of those who work in the financial markets are having discreet conversations with recruiters and search consultants. And the message is clear - loads of staff want out after payment of their bonuses.
Even though bonus pools are thought likely this year to be as big as any time over the last 5 years, many staff are keeping their options open and considering a move in 2006. And, with industry prospects already looking good for next year, many firms should be able to push the boat out on the hiring front. There should be no shortage of jobs for decent staff who feel like a move.
With top US firms like Goldman, Lehman and Morgan Stanley set to pay out bonuses next month, and most of the rest of the industry paying up by February, many staff are soon likely to turn their thoughts from the likely size of this year's bonus, to the prospects of a career move early in 2006. And recruiters, who mostly had a decent year in 2005, can look forward to a bumper one in 2006.
And a big push factor, which may drive some staff towards the door, is, strangely enough, the size of bonuses. Although bonus pools will certainly be higher this year, that doesn't mean that everyone will be better off. The hype around bonuses this year has been unprecedented. And this will surely raise expectations of bumper payouts across the board. Many staff, however, will be disappointed with their lot, as top performers are likely to be paid much better this year, and there might not be as much left over to go round as many expect. And those who feel disadvantaged in the bonus stakes will look to go elsewhere after bonus payouts, so that they can at least increase their base salaries when they move.