7,200 new investment banking IT jobs (apparently)

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It seems unlikely (and yes, we're very sceptical), but new research by ReThink Recruitment, a financial services specialist, says investment banks created an almost unfeasible 7,200 new IT jobs globally during the final quarter of 2008.

The report bases its calculations on a combination of its own database and surveying the hiring needs of the financial institutions themselves.

Unlikely as 7,200 new jobs sound in the current climate, ReThink concedes that IT job creation is at least slowing. In 2007, it says an even more impressive 11,800 IT in investment banking jobs were created.

"Financial institutions are cutting spending on IT and putting in place hiring freezes in some areas as they scale back expansion plans, but there is still demand for IT professionals on projects which can generate cost savings in the short to medium term," says Michael Bennett, director at Rethink.

Where are all these new jobs? Bennett says techies are needed in areas like risk management, credit control, compliance and the post-merger integration of banks' IT systems.

Hedge funds and commercial retail banks are still hiring too, but at a much slower rate than last year, creating an alleged 1,082 and 2,982 jobs respectively in the last quarter of 2008, down 60% on 2007.

There's also strong demand for techies in the insurance sector, which apparently created over 5,000 new roles in the last quarter of 2008.

Chris Potter, technology assurance partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, tells us: "Insurance firms are still improving and consolidating legacy systems, which are increasingly constraining their businesses, and are also investing to make their back office processes more efficient."

He adds that the data management issues facing insurance firms from the implementation of Solvency II regulation (which is creating large numbers of IT jobs) offers good opportunities for technologists who may have worked within investment banks on Basel II.

However, others are not so sanguine on technologists' career opportunities. Bob McDowell, analyst at TowerGroup, reckons of the predicted 300,000 jobs to be lost globally within financial services in 2009, 25% will be IT professionals.

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