Finance jobs go through the roof

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A study suggests banking and finance job vacancies increased an enormous 75% in December. But salaries in some areas may have fallen.

"Hiring in December was simply a symptom of the strength of the market over 2006 generally," says Rob Thesiger, chief executive of recruiter Morgan McKinley, which undertook the study. "Lots of banks had hiring budgets to spend and at the end of the year they were trying to fill their quotas."

It seems unlikely quotas were filled - Morgan McKinley's research also suggests candidate numbers dropped 17% as potential jobseekers sat tight until 2006 bonuses were paid.

Does this mean there will be more jobs than ever in 2007? Thesiger says banks will have new headcount quotas this year, but that hiring looks set to be robust - particularly for analysts and associates with a few years' experience, who remain hard to come by.

The picture may not be quite so rosy in the middle office, which includes the likes of accounting and risk management - Morgan McKinley's figures suggest middle-office salaries fell for the third month running in December, to an average of just over 43k. Thesiger was at a loss to explain why.

Andrew Chancellor, head of financial services recruitment at rival firm Robert Walters, is sceptical about Morgan McKinley's figures, however. Chancellor says middle-office salaries were up 20% for last year as a whole. He also declaims against the notion that jobs rose 75% month on month in December: "It's ridiculous, I'm sure there were more jobs out there, but nowhere near that many."

Chancellor does agree that analysts and associates will be hot in 2007, though.

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