Hiring freeze a load of hot air

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If Goldman Sachs has a freeze on hiring, John Prescott will be the next 007.

The US bank, which added 492 people between November and the end of February, is rumoured to have closed its cheque book for a hiring breather according to the website breakingviews.com. Although it's reputedly still interested in 'top talent,' the implication is that anyone less exalted is out of luck.

How true is this? Not at all, according to the headhunters we spoke to. "It's rubbish," says one. "Their HR department strongly refute it."

"There isn't a hiring freeze at Goldman," says another. "There will be significant scrutiny on all hiring at the end of June, but that's just fairly normal stuff that happens every year."

"No one has got hiring freezes," adds a third. "Last year hiring didn't stop. This year looks like being the same."

So if hiring's not going Siberian, who's in the hot tub looking for staff? Goldman is said to be adding in structured products, while Royal Bank of Canada is said to be voraciously adding bodies in credit derivatives, as is Royal Bank of Scotland.

Blackstone is also on the hire, with rumours that John Studzinski, of HSBC and Morgan Stanley fame, is eager to add corporate financiers over at Blackstone. It's not clear whether there'll be any equity on offer to the new joiners when Blackstone floats next month, but one headhunter says that's not the only reason to throw your lot in with Studz: "It's a good culture that's very streamlined and allows corporate financiers to do what they do best - advise people on very complicated and interesting deals."

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