Cautious Optimism for Investment Banking Jobs

There are a few bright spots for investment banking job hiring, reports the Wall Street Journal. Even amid the fears that Wall Street may reverse its recent hiring spree.

Some firms, such as Barclays Capital, the investment banking unit of Barclays PLC, have eliminated jobs. But others say they will continue to hire for important positions and expand the businesses they entered as the markets recovered last year.

Nomura Securities, for example, has hired more than 600 people since March 2009 and is continuing its plans to hire 300 more by March 2011. French bank BNP Parabas SA plans to continue its hiring in the U.S. for capital markets professionals as well.

According to Bureau of Labor statistics quoted in the article, U.S. securities-industry employment in June 2010 was up 1.2% since March, but still short 57,500 jobs or 6.7% since the peak in 2007. New York area securities industry jobs have been rising too, but are still well below their peak.

Wall Street is adjusting to new pay structures, which could impact hiring decisions. The trend is toward an increase in salary and less in bonuses. Base salaries on Wall Street are up as much as 40% this year, according to Jeff Visithpanich at Johnson Associates Consulting. Cash bonuses are down, with more incentive pay coming in the form of stock which can be clawed back, if necessary.

Nevertheless, many employers are playing a waiting game to see if the economy will regain momentum or drift back into recession, before committing to major hiring moves.

What’s your opinion? Has the investment banking hiring surge ground to a halt or are there pockets of opportunity? Add your comments below.

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