It's freezing out there

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Seems that just about every bank has got a hiring freeze on.

Earlier this week, The Telegraph ran a story saying Citi, JPMorgan, ABN AMRO and Soc Gen have all put a stop to hiring for the time being. Our own enquiries suggest the freeze is a lot more widespread than that.

In addition to the banks mentioned by The Telegraph, headhunters say everywhere from Credit Suisse, to Merrill Lynch, Deutsche, Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns have stopped recruiting for the moment. Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, is rumoured to have had a freeze on hiring since June, albeit only for fixed income.

It's bad news for anyone who's in the process of applying for a new role, but didn't managed to get in before the frost struck. Lots of candidates have gone through to final round interviews, only to have offers rescinded until hiring resumes in January - assuming it does.

"Deutsche Bank announced a global hiring freeze last Friday," complains one recruiter. "They'd paid for someone to fly over for an interview and we had to cancel the flight."

It's also bad news for headhunters, who are now faced with scores of uncompleted mandates. With most candidates unlikely to resign until bonuses have been paid in February and March and then unable to move until notice periods have elapsed in June, headhunters face a wait of up to 10 months before they can collect full fees on a search.

However, some say the freeze isn't absolute. "Hiring is still going through for special cases," says Zaheer Ibrahim, a consultant at Kennedy Associates. "It's a bit of a weird one," says another recruiter. "They've officially got hiring freezes, but if they need a replacement hire or there's an urgent position they will still recruit people."

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