For Top Bankers, the Era of Easy Job Hopping Is Ending

By Dan Fastenberg

One of the secrets of finance is that the banking world has a history of working in a lot of ways like a basketball league. You may be a star, but your killer jump shot barely matters if your team is in last place. Or to put in actual terms, what bank you work at is as important as your analyst skills. So if you're lucky enough to be one of the premiere bankers, you can just change teams, or banks, when fortunes fade.

That fluidity in the finance world may however be coming to an end, or so says a new report from Reuters. "There are plenty of resumes going around in the market right now, just not too many takers," Joe Neitham, a recruiter at TRC Group in Singapore, told the news agency. Just four years ago, when the volatility arrived on Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis, its course was unpredictable. And its contours have already changed, Reuters says. When Lehman and other giants came crashing down, there were as many finance houses, like Barclays, that were then seeing golden days, going on "hiring sprees" in the first few years of the financial crisis.

The dynamic of 2011 is quite different, the report says. If banks aren't trimming their rolls, they certainly aren't hiring anymore either, Reuters says. In other words, no bank can speak of flush times. One could look to Asia to get a sense of the new stop sign that has taken over on Wall Street. Indeed, Asian finance was a bastion of prosperity during the worst of America's finance woes, and the securities sector there grew from 42,000 employees in 2007 to 55,000 at the end of this September. Among the Asian banks that were once outlets for hiring that are now going forward with a no new hands on deck policy is the Japanese financial holding company, Nomura.

Observers of Wall Street have tried to come up with explanations as to how some banks were up until this point able to see sky high returns even as global finance confronted its worst crisis since the Great Depression. And many have highlighted the popular Wall Street policy of maintaining skeleton crews, keeping staff overhead as low as possible to boost profits. It may be that all banks are now catching on, creating the new dynamic described above. Regardless, finance chieftains have defended the no hiring policies by highlighting the so-called "uncertainty" they are operating under, thereby disincentivizing hiring. And among the issues raised by Wall Street executives in defending the lack of hiring are the new regulations introduced by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

Among the regulations introduced by Dodd-Frank is the mandate that banks keep more money in reserve so they need not look to Washington for a bailout in the event of massive crisis. This policy was also intended to halt the riskiest of trading. The new framework has drawn the ire of bankers, who say our capitalism must allow for such trading. For his part, former Sen. Chris Dodd, who sponsored the bill, is wearing the oft-sounded rebuke of his bill as a badge of courage.

"I should be flattered, I suppose," he told NBC's Meet the Press online program "Press Pass" on Friday. "I don't know of anyone who wants to go back to the fall of 2008."

Next: Inside Yahoo!: Employees Sound Off In Post-Bartz Era

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Aww, that's a shame. The banks are complaining that Dodd-Frank makes them keep more of their money in reserve. The poor, poor banks.

November 14 2011 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They made our retirement theirs, a while back. Now it's time to spend theirs, they've already helped the rest of us lose ours.

November 14 2011 at 12:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick Herbert

The gap between the Bank's fortunes and Homeowner's misfortune needs to be reduced....see

It will work

November 13 2011 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The way times are now they are lucky if their next job isn't weighting down a noose at the hands of a lynch mob! OWS won't stay non violent for long. Shame is the victims will probably be other middle class people instead of anyone in the top 1%.

November 13 2011 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heard of a person who worked for a bank and did such a good job that customers waited in line for this person and they did not mind - well, the bank manager did not like this and the person was brought up on the carpet for giving such good customer service that customers did not mind waiting for this person! In todays America you get in trouble for doing an exceptional job and treating customers with respect! Only in America!!

November 12 2011 at 11:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Our Congress, Lobbyists, Greedy Corporations--American Chamber of Commerce, Supreme Court sold us out---They have sold our jobs--they exported our jobs-----

November 12 2011 at 9:19 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

I saw how ntons--and Bush family gave into Wallstreet CROOKS-------NO MORE GLOBAL TRADE-----I SAY IMPOSE 10% TARIFFS on all IMPORTS!!! I mean every country shall be able to do this!! THIS WILL STOP DUMPING!!

November 12 2011 at 8:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fakeconomics1's comment

Typo---should be "saw how Clintons--and Bush family gave into Wallstreet CROOKS"

November 12 2011 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Wallstreet needs to be controlled---No more day trade and short selling!! Each stock purchased shall not allowed to trade for a minimum of three weeks---We need stability----We must make speculators be accountable for false statements and speculative statements--

November 12 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

America is not for SALE!! Go and Screw Yourselves---I reject GLOBAL TRADE!!I am not liable to Greece, Italy and other idiots!! Reject Global Traders!!

November 12 2011 at 8:28 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

There is something wrong with our Wallstreet, Banking, Treasury, and Greedy Corporations!! Who is designing these WTO, Global Trade, NAFTA and Financial Sector-----Stop Speculators and Greedy Monsters!!! I side with American Consumers and America-----I reject these Greedy Vampires and Vultures!!----Stop buying Foreign Goods---Buy American!!

November 12 2011 at 8:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply