As The War For Talent Heats Up, Support Staff Are Concerned About Future

Outside UBS

Bloomberg reports that Anshu Jain, Deutsche Banks' co-head of investment banking, said at a conference in New York Wednesday that the 'war for talent has heated up'.

Jain said: 'A number of competitors who went through a more troubling time than us during 2008 are now making strong comebacks, (and) are making a real attempt to reacquire talent. The ability to keep our talent and then to go out and bring people on board to even up that market share is proving to be a greater challenge for all of us'.

The irony is that, even as the political rhetoric continues and bankers remain Public Enemy No 1, they are in more demand than ever - at least those who can generate strong revenue streams are.

One London-based investment banking executive told Here Is The City: 'The war for talent hasn't 'heated up' - it's red hot in many areas. Despite using all our internal networks, and engaging recruiting firms to work with us, we continue to struggle to identify and bring on board people for what we regard are key positions. And even if you find the right person and make an attractive offer, they will often be bought back'.

So, it's party-time for the financial markets recruitment fraternity, then ? Well, not quite. One recruiter told us: 'Sure, we're busy. The job market is hot again, but that doesn't mean that we're making easy money. It's not getting the jobs that's the problem, it's finding decent candidates who are prepared to move'.

The problem is, it's a perfect storm for recruitment, as so many financial players are now back in hiring mode. You have firms like Goldman, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan, who made out relatively well during the financial crisis, and who want to drive home their competitive advantage by hiring key talent from rivals.

Then you have those firms that are 'recovering', like Morgan Stanley and UBS, who are now beefing up again in key areas and are looking a more attractive proposition for those interested in a move. Then you have firms like Barclays Capital and Nomura, who are keen to build their platforms after acquiring various Lehman businesses. And in addition to all this, you have firms like Standard Bank still increasing headcount as it bids to get a better seat at the table, and Jefferies & Co, as it aggressively moves to build out its franchise.

One banker told us: 'Quite frankly, I'm getting sick of all the attention. Constant calls from headhunters to work and my cell are starting to get irritating. You even get approached via e-mail these days. And then you go for a drink in the evening with some friends from the industry, and one of guys has always got something at his firm 'that may interest' to you. OK, I suppose it's good for my ego, but I just want to get on with my job. It's becoming a distraction'.

But spare a thought for those bankers who are close to the bottom of the food chain, and aren't in such big demand. One operations staffer told Here Is The City: 'It would be nice to worry about taking too many headhunting calls, or how big my next package will be, but frankly I'm just worried about keeping my job. And it's all very well pushing the boat out and hiring all these people, but that usually means that costs have to be cut elsewhere. And, ironically, it's always back office staff who are always front line when it comes to bearing the brunt of any cost cutting. Us mere mortals are all worried about our futures'.

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