Here are some predictions for 2010...

Good year

Operations roles at i-banks

Expect quite a bit of movement within operations roles in both investment banking and funds management, says Anton Murray, director of Anton Murray Consulting. After quietly working away during 2009 without complaint, just to hold on to their IB jobs, operations candidates will be more open to a move in 2010 as the markets strengthen.

Many firms are running incredibly lean operations teams, and will scramble to replace critical staff as they expand in 2010. Areas of growth in operations will be anything equity focused, and funds management operations candidates will also be in high demand, Murray tells

Financial institutions and natural resources

Most sectors will be busy in 2010, but if I had to pick two, then FIG and resources outshine the others. The strength of China's demand for resources will continue well into 2010/11. The expectation is that there will be strong demand for advisors and capital markets specialist across metals, mining, oil and gas and into infrastructure and utilities, says Gary Howard, an investment banking consultant at Talent2.

We have seen a number of local financial institutions using the downturn to their advantage in Asia and Europe. We therefore continue to see growth offshore in the FIG space, as well as further consolidation in the local market, so the demand for advisors across FIG continues, he adds.

Private banking

Throughout the financial crisis, private banks continued to search selectively for additional advisers with transferable clients. Demand will increase in 2010, but the major constraint is the shortage of suitable candidates. This is an excellent career path for people who can sell, know high net worth individuals, and understand the securities markets, comments Luke Heath, chief executive of Chandler Heath Executive Recruitment.


The M&A market is already improving on the back of more capital raisings and a healthier corporate debt market. M&A investment banking professionals with a minimum of two years' Australian deal experience will be in demand this year, comments Alastair Chell, a consultant at Jon Michel Executive Search.

Most IBs will be looking to expand their teams in 2010. All coverage sectors will be in demand, with M&A execution skills amongst analysts, associates and VPs universally sought after. Given the number of teams now operating in this space, we anticipate a shortage of talent being an issue for employers, adds Chell.

Hedge funds

Expect those small hedge funds that you've never heard of start to selectively recruiting from mid 2010. After many being pounded with redemptions in 2009, many of the remaining hedgies will look to replace staff that they may have shed during the downturn, says Murray.

They will be starting to see fund inflows, so will be much more confident to make growth and replacement hiring than during 2009. Expect hedge fund hiring for investment analysts (bright sell-side analysts with a CFA qualification), and hedge fund operations and accounting staff.

Bad year

Healthcare, gaming and leisure

These could be the quietest coverage sectors. We see this space to be less active in 2010. There are few confirmed floats in healthcare and limited advisory work. Although we do have an eye on the gaming and leisure space, we don't expect to see a raft of activity on the hiring front, says Howard.

Green investment banking jobs

At the start of 2009 there was much hype around the growth in the energy trading market in Australia. But the predicted rapid expansion of carbon and energy trading work didn't seem to eventuate.

In 2010, much of the excitement around a boom in green jobs, or indeed anything energy and carbon related, will seem 'so 2009'. It has become apparent that the jobs growth in energy markets will take a few years to build, and will do so in a boring, gradual manner, comments Murray.

Seniors in private equity

Job searching will be difficult for senior PE professionals who are returning from overseas, or who were retrenched from poorly performing funds last year. We don't anticipate much of a demand at the senior end of the market as funds will tend to favour entry-level hires and promotion from within their current ranks, explains Chell.

Top-level retention at the Big Four

As the markets rally, watch out for high quality investment bankers leaping out of the Big Four in search of similar jobs with a global IB (and the prospect of a healthy bonus in February 2011).

The big Aussie retail banks were a great place to be during the turbulence of the GFC. But given the serious downturn we have just gone through, 2010 is pretty much the best time in the last 10 years to move away from the security of a retail bank and go for the money at an IB, says Murray.