Musical Chairs for Investment Banking Jobs

The financial services industry has shed more than 100,000 jobs in the past nine months. Recruitment experts are likening this period to a huge game of “musical chairs,” with more players chasing fewer chairs. But star players with strong networks will find a chair, especially if they resist the urge to sit on the sidelines and instead get a fast start hunting for a new position.

That’s the opinion of John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based outplacement counseling firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, quoted in a recent article in Money online. A number of other recruitment experts added their suggestions on where to search for those elusive positions. These included:

Businesses with long time horizons: wealth management and retirement services, for example. Even private equity firms are becoming interested in companies that offer formerly dull activities such as mortgage servicing and insurance, and will need people who understand those businesses.

Small firms: smaller firms can now take advantage of top talent let go from major firms and will be snapping up experts to expand their business.

Government: the Treasury Department will need bankers to help track and value assets with the current bailout plan.

Consulting firms: with companies trying to run as lean as possible during this crisis, many will want to outsource for financial expertise rather than hire high-priced talent. Consulting firms stand to benefit and are eager to take on investment bankers.

Overseas markets: as we’ve commented in this blog before, there is growing demand for banking and finance expertise in markets such as Dubai, Asia (excluding Japan), Brazil, and other jurisdictions. This might be the perfect time to gain the international experience that looks good on any resume.

To land that next investment banking position, network like crazy says John Rogan, a managing director at recruiters Russell Reynolds Associates. “You need a multi-pronged approach. Even if you have relationships with recruiters, don’t just rely on them. Talk to everyone you know and meet as many people as you can. Stay current with what’s happening and who’s going where.”

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