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Wall Street's Hiring Turnaround

Wall Street is hiring again, and the demand is for risk managers, and specialists in distressed debt.

Wall Street is hiring again, and the demand is for risk managers, and specialists in distressed debt. That's what I learned when I listened to Joe Connolly, a Wall Street Journal reporter who broadcasts a report on WCBS News Radio88. He said financial firms are hiring risk managers and specialists in distressed debt and making them part of management to ensure that they don't repeat the reckless mistakes of the past.An Associated Press article "Wall Street Ramps Up Hiring as Profits Rebound," also cites demand for traders of exotic financial investments such as derivatives, and risk managers whose job it is to keep companies from repeating the reckless bets that imploded and nearly toppled the financial system 18 months ago. AP attributed the increase in Wall Street hiring to the stock market rebounding and a flood of government aid that has helped the struggling financial firms return to making money and fill the gaps in their downsized workforces.

The financial industry is searching for top talent and firms are "dangling" lucrative pay packages in front of key candidates, the AP article reports.

But the increase in employment hasn't shown up in government data yet, as the latest jobs report showed a "slight drop in the number of financial workers in March." The article suggests the number of job cuts is exceeding the number of new hires. Wall Street cut 415,000 jobs in 2007 and 2008, said the AP article citing data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment firm. U.S. financial companies announced 3, 880 hires in the first three months of this year, up 13 percent from the same period in 2008, but the actual number may be higher because not all companies publicly announce all new hires.

Some of the most aggressive recruiters of talent are banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America, which received billions in government bailout money during the credit crisis. Now that the banks have repaid the government's money they are not restricted in what they can pay. More optimistic about the future, they are perhaps confident they can hire in certain areas. With the stock market hitting 11,000, corporate valuations are rising and this could lead to M&A deals and more advisory work. Banks also may be hiring because they anticipated higher earnings.

While financial firms are not exactly going on a hiring binge, the upturn in Wall Street hiring is a positive sign, but skeptics are waiting to see if it grows and becomes sustainable.Wall Street is hiring again, and the demand is for risk managers, and specialists in distressed debt. Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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