The problem with losing your job in 2023
Results season is over for banks and for the moment, the news is reasonably good. There may not be all that much hiring, but nor is there any more firing. Perversely, however, this may run contrary to the interests of people already out of the market.
Because both banks and tech firms have made a point of saying that their cuts so far have impacted under-performers, recruiters say there's a lot of hesitancy about hiring anyone who's been let go. If you're out of the market, you're seen as slightly tarnished goods.
"Tier one investment banks and trading firms are telling us that they don't want to see people who are out of the market," says Joshua Friedman, a recruiter who covers technology hiring at GQR Global Markets in New York. "We're being told by those tier one companies that if you're not employed, you were probably fired for a reason."
Friedman acknowledges that this isn't always the case and describes the policy as "unfair." - A "hodge podge" of people have been let go, particularly from big tech firms, he says. "There are companies that have laid off entire teams and some were working on very interesting projects."
A similar dynamic is afoot when it comes to investment banking roles. One New York headhunter said clients think "there must have been a reason" why people were let go and are unwilling to consider them on that basis.
Goldman Sachs' recent layoffs didn't just include senior investment bankers. Senior technologists like Leon Chadwick, a site reliability engineer who joined from Google in 2018 and Simon Knowles, the former head of GS asset management engineering, are also on the market. Another headhunter, who works with senior banking technologists in London, said Goldman's ex-technologists are equally unlikely to see much demand for their skills. "They will probably have one or two things progressing, but ideally firms don't want to hire folk who have been let go or are open to work," he tells us.
It might well be easier to find a new job if more people were laid off. In this case, it could be argued that cuts were indiscriminate and unrelated to performance. As things stand, Friedman says you can still get shortlisted and interviewed for new roles, you just need to hustle even harder than before. "Over the last rolling six months there has been a massive influx of candidates," he says. "Some are very high quality." Hiring managers just need to be persuaded of that.
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