Investment banks’ tablet and smartphone recruitment plans have crashed, but could be rebooted

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Digital developers swayed across to lucrative investment banking contracts are hoping that phase two of these projects kicks off soon. For the time being, however, banks’ appetite to recruit for these roles has been dampened by over-riding cost concerns.

At this point last year, the majority of investment banks were looking to hire interaction designers, user experience architects and developers to create trading apps for tablets and smart phones.

Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, RBS and SocGen all brought in teams of contractors to work on these projects. Most have launched a product, and subsequently ended contracts, but many technologists are hoping that these projects enter a new phase.

“Recruitment for investment banks’ digital projects has dried up recently, largely because of over-riding hiring freezes,” says David Young, digital practice manager at IT recruiters JM Group. “Some contractors have switched to the consumer finance sector, which is still relatively active, but are hoping that investment banks start recruiting again soon.”

It’s easy to see why – it’s a lot more lucrative. Working for a digital agency on a contract basis generally pays around £400 a day, says Young. Investment banks, meanwhile, are offering up to £700 a day, while consumer finance organisations tend to offer up to £600 a day.

A few banks still seem open to the idea of taking on techies in this area. UBS, for instance, is believed to have a team of around 30 people working on a new trading platform for tablet and smartphone in London, via the services of consultancy RMA (which is also recruiting). Recruiters also suggest that SocGen is making noises about kick-starting the second phase of development.

Developers with Silverlight, Flex and HTML 5 skills are most in demand within these teams, says Young.

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