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Market Downturn Pummel Job Prospects in Financial Sector

Market Downturn Pummel Job Prospects in Financial Sector

Posted November. 03, 2008 09:28,   


A 24-year-old woman who graduated from university in August had no intention of getting a non-finance job just a few months ago. Now, however, she is applying for positions at logistics and construction companies because many financial companies canceled hiring plans for the second half of the year.

“When I go to job fairs, many companies tell me they have to cut new recruitment next year,” she said. “This year is probably the last chance for a jobseeker to land a job in the financial sector.”

As many financial companies including banks and brokerages hit by the U.S.-triggered financial crisis drastically scale down or postpone their recruitment plans, jobs have grown scarce in the financial sector.

The Dong-A Ilbo asked 10 major securities companies and four commercial banks about their recruitment plan for the second half of the year. Just one securities company and two banks said they expanded their recruitment plans from the same period last year.

Seven cut down on hiring, while four others began recruiting but were uncertain about the final number.

Kookmin Bank expanded its recruitment in the second half of the year, but its yearly figure is down 450 employees from last year since it did not hire new staff in the first half.

Shinhan Bank hired more people in the second half of the year than in the same period last year, but did so to replace those who took voluntary retirement at the end of last year.

Companies with no final recruitment plans are likely to drastically cut the number of recruits or hire none at all. A human resources manager at Kyobo Securities said, “Recruitment at securities companies depends on market conditions. We should’ve already begun recruiting new employees according to our plans at the beginning of the year, but we can do nothing at this point because of the bad market situation.”

Jang Ki-soo, head of human resources at Hyundai Securities, said, “We completed hiring contract workers for the second of the year, but we can consider hiring new college grads only when the market sees the end of the tunnel.”

The darkening outlook for the job market has even created groundless rumors on Web sites where many jobseekers exchange information. “One securities company announced that it will hire derivatives experts but it’s a lie. It just wants to avert attention from its troubles,” said one rumor.

Regardless of the bleak reality, many jobseekers have gone as far as registering for courses on public speaking skills to prepare for interviews at financial companies.

The situation is no better for applicants with experience. Many financial companies have opted to downsize by not filling vacancies even if they have conducted massive layoffs.

A top executive at a think tank of a small securities company said, “The emergence of many new securities companies in the beginning of the year excessively pushed up the salaries of research analysts. It is now burdensome to hire new analysts.”

CEO Shin Hyun-mahn of Career Care, a headhunting company, said, “Nowadays financial companies only look for ‘relief pitchers’ at the executive level who can help them overcome the financial crisis.”