Commodities hiring boom to run out of oomph?

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On one hand, Deutsche's recruiting and 350 new commodities jobs are predicted between now and June. On the other, headhunters say commodities hiring is slowing.

The prediction of 350 new jobs originated with the Financial Times, which, in the dark days pre-Christmas, ran a story quoting research from headhunting firm Options Group, predicting that commodities job creation will be up 17% this year on last year.

Despite a report on Bloomberg today that Deutsche plans to up its commodities staff 25% in the coming year, the headhunters we spoke to weren't exactly ebullient.

2007 was, after all, something of a record for commodities hiring, with everywhere from Barclays to JPMorgan and Citigroup hoovering up staff. 2008 might not measure up by comparison.

"Commodities hiring will continue in 2008, but I doubt that we will see many new players entering the energy space this year compared to 2007," says Jakob Bloch, managing director of search firm Commodity Appointments.

"From a hiring perspective, the heat will still be in the commodities market in the first half of 2008. But in the second half some smaller organizations and newer entrants might have problems as they realize they haven't achieved the critical mass necessary and their people leave as they're not earning enough money," says Justin Pearson, managing director at commodities recruiter Human Capital.

An oil trader at one European bank confirms the impression of a market that's hiring, but not rampantly so. "The phone's ringing, but it's not ringing off the hook," he says. "I probably get a call every week or two."