Financial services headhunters are sloshing about, looking for work, as recruiting slumps

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Financial services headhunting is falling. Financial services headhunters are reportedly emerging in search of work.

Research from the Association of Executive Search Consultants suggests the number of new financial services searches taking place globally fell 14.2% year-on-year in the first quarter.

Worse: the first quarter of the year is typically the most active, but this year, financial services searches fell 7% vs. the fourth quarter of 2011.

Experienced search consultants are pitching their own CVs as a result.  “Recruiters are letting go of people very aggressively,” said the head of one recruitment firm in London. “I know of at least one firm which has fired 50-60% of its staff.”

Many of those let go are said to be experienced search consultants with 7-8 years’ experience. A lot are reputedly good people and former big billers.

Whether they will be able to walk into a new job easily is questionable. “Clients aren’t particularly portable in recruitment,” says the head of one search boutique. “People are hiring, but only in pockets. I know of one former consultant who’s retraining in law.”

Alternatively, redundant financial services headhunters could try becoming legal headhunters instead.

“It wouldn’t be particularly difficult to move into another sector – like legal, which tends to look for people from a financial services background and to pay comparably,” says Andrea Saunders, managing director of recruitment to recruitment firm Aston Taylor.


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