After a hiring frenzy last year, Wall Street is slowing down due to the growing uncertainty around the U.S. economic future and the ensuing decline in the financial markets. In 2021 and early this year, Wall Street firms, including banks like Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co, were obliged to pay more to attract and keep employees due to fierce hiring competition. The increase in bonuses was the biggest in 15 years.
However, hiring fever is waning, according to executives, recruitment experts, and recent data. According to Alan Johnson, managing director of compensation consultancy firm Johnson Associates, “by the end of 2021 it was white hot with unprecedented demand for employment and pay.” “It’s changing swiftly from extremely hot to normal, and by the end of the year it might even turn cold. Undoubtedly, a change is taking place.”
According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, firms in the securities, commodity contracts, investments, funds, and trusts sector were still adding jobs, but the rate of growth was noticeably slower in May, adding only 1,200 positions as opposed to 4,600 in April. In contrast, the industry experienced its largest annual headcount growth since 2000 in 2021, when the monthly average was 3,400.
In light of the weakening global markets, some clients have paused some talent searches, according to Alberto Mirabal, senior vice president for investment banking at the recruitment firm GQR Global Markets. These clients want to “see how things shake out” before adding to their already sizable teams.
We’re observing a little slowness, he added. Some Wall Street firms are concerned about the possibility of a recession due to rising inflation that has been compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent interest rate increases. Layoffs are already happening in several areas of the banking sector, most notably the mortgage sector, which is especially vulnerable to interest rate increases that harm house sales.
According to Bloomberg, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is this week reassigning hundreds of workers from its home loan division and firing hundreds more. The industry is not yet experiencing widespread hiring freezes or layoffs, the recruiters claimed, although in general. In addition, some smaller companies, such as boutique investment bank Lazard, are trying to seize the opportunity presented by the evolving market to attract top personnel for themselves.
After 2021, which he described as being the most difficult in a decade for staff retention and remuneration, Lazard Chief Executive Kenneth Jacobs claimed that a hiring slowdown was assisting his company in attracting new talent. Jacobs stated last week at a Morgan Stanley conference that “the rivalry for talent is lessening.” “I believe we’ll try to profit from this.”
Equity capital markets have experienced the sharpest reduction in activity; according to Julian Bell is the managing director and head of the Americas for the Sheffield Haworth talent firm. Broker-dealers will suffer more than full-service banks as a result, according to this. According to him, brokers in the main equities capital markets sectors of healthcare/biotech and technology will suffer the most. Investment bankers are not worried about impending layoffs, despite the fact that hiring is decreasing and salary expectations have decreased following an extraordinarily robust payout in 2021.
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