Which is the easiest top firm to get a job at right now ?

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Looking for a new opportunity ? Where's your best (or easiest) prospect firm ?

With many financial market professionals bagging (or about to bag) their bonuses, now is traditionally the time bankers start to review their career options. But just because you're looking, doesn't mean that it'll be easy to find your next role. 

It's true, of course, that some financial markets professionals - with the right background, skills and money-making track record - will always be in demand. But for the average professional, there might not be a lot around at the moment.

Here's our quick run-down on top firms and how easy it is (in our view) to get a job at right now:

1. Societe Generale - looking to buck the trend and on the hire, especially in private banking and fixed income

2. Morgan Stanley - the masterplan is coming together, and asset management will go through a period of sustained growth.

3. Standard Chartered - although headcount growth has slowed, the firm will continue to upgrade the payroll and hire in key areas.

4. Citi - Citi is emerging from its malaise and financial crisis-related problems. Although not quite ready to push the hiring boat out, nevertheless the firm will be looking to beef up in a number of key areas.

5. Bank of America Merrill Lynch - Much the same as Citi, Bank of America's executive team have worked long and hard to resolve a number of legacy issues. Now that the firm can see the wood from the trees, expect the focus to turn slowly back to hiring.

6. UBS - although undoubtedly through the worst, UBS has been clear that it doesn't intend to be all thing to all men in investment banking, so the unit is unlikely to push the hiring boat out any time soon. Wealth management, and especially in the U.S., is a different matter - and headcount growth can be expected here.

7. Deutsche Bank - committed to investment banking, and may have cut back in fixed income a little too much. Opportunistic hires most everywhere, but fixed income in particular may see some hiring growth.

8. JPMorgan - Jamie Dimon's firm is also working through some legacy issues, but remains a major player all areas of the industry. Although headcount is managed tightly, expect some more recruitment action in investment banking and asset management as we move through the year.

9. BNP Paribas - unlikely to be as aggressive as rival SocGen in the hiring stakes in 2014. Will be keeping a handle on costs, and may want to see how the bond market plays out before make headcount decisions.

10. Credit Suisse - not as far along in getting its business mix / strategic direction right as, say UBS, 2014 is likely to see the firm being more cautious on the recruitment front.

11. Barclays - 2014 will see further cutting around the edges at the investment bank, as new CEO Antony Jenkins makes his mark on the bank. Always open to opportunistic, quality hires though - but Barclays is not expected to be a big hirer of staff this year.

12. HSBC - another firm working hard to rein in costs. Unlikely to do significant amounts of hiring this year.

13. Jefferies - the days of rapid expansion are over, but the firm will undoubtedly continue making waves and hire top talent for key roles throughout the year. The bar will be high to get a job at Jefferies in 2014, though. Don't rule out another acquisition either.

14. Goldman Sachs - where there is money to be made, Goldman will want people on the ground to make it. Headcount is expected to be pretty neutral throughout 2104, although the annual performance review cull will create opportunities for external hires. Goldman remains, however, a tough place to get a seat at a desk.


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