If you've spoken to enough recruitment firms recently, you should be feeling fairly positive about things. At most of them the mantra is the same: "The market was bad for the first five months of the year, but sentiment changed around May and we've started seeing concrete signs of hiring since July."
This may be true. But there hasn't been very much actual hiring yet.
Figures from the banks that have already announced their third quarter results, and which have broken out variations in investment banking headcount (either in their results or in separate press material) reveal a net change in investment banking headcount of around -2,800 in the first nine months of the year.
The biggest redundancies have taken place at JP Morgan (3,060 in the investment bank), Morgan Stanley (approximately 1,500 across investment banking and asset management) and Credit Suisse (400 in the investment bank). Citigroup has also made 47,000 redundancies across its network this year, but doesn't break out investment banking operations.
The good news is that hiring does, indeed, appear to have resumed in the third quarter.
However, recent hiring has been nowhere near enough to make amends for the thousands made redundant previously. Net, only around 400 jobs were added in the three months to October. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman hired; JP Morgan continued to trim.
Source: Company annual reports and press reports