And the layoffs aren't even over. New York City's Independent Budget Office recently stated that financial related firms might lose some 82,300 jobs between 2008 and 2011. One financial industry headhunter says the situation for employees is the worst since 1985.
Couple that with reports that Wall Street bonuses will drop at least 50 percent to their lowest level since 2002, workers who have jobs are wondering what their next move should be or even if the have one.
There are jobs available, but not necessarily on Wall Street. As a result, financial types will have to make drastic changes in their approach and mind set. That includes going into a whole different field, accepting less money and possibly moving.
"Companies are hiring," says Mitch Wienick, President and CEO of Kelleher Associates, a career counseling firm for senior executives based in Wayne, Pennsylvania. "Most companies know that the economy is not coming to an end," says Wienick. "Those looking for work just need to be more thoughtful, more thorough, in the hiring process."
"Of course there are jobs," says Deb Wheatman, Career Expert at Vault, a web based resource for career management and job search information. "You just need to be very diligent and focuses to identify opportunities and pursue them and close the deal."
Spring, a former chief operating officer at a multi-strategy hedge fund, says "I spend 4-5 hours a day reaching out to people, searching the web and working with a recruiter."
Spring says he has plenty of savings to tide him over for the time being and he's not too worried about his job search. But after 22 years in the financial industry he says he's looking in new direction. "Fashion is an interest of mine since grad school," says Spring. "I wouldn't mind something there."
Spring's change of mindset is what's necessary for financial workers, though it doesn't have to be as drastic says Ed Fleischman, CEO of The Execu/Search Group, a New York based company for professional recruitment and staffing.
"If you’re a senior executive, you're not going back to college" says Fleischman. "An investment banker should be looking at serving health care. They can take their talents there. Or go to a law firm that specializes in investment banking."
And for those looking only where they live, Fleischman says they need to develop a different thought process. "People have to think about re-locating. There are other areas of the country that would love NY talent. It’s not easy out there but the NY trained executive could find a job in Chicago. I'd go out there and just keep looking."
Salaries and Benefits
The handsome salaries and bonuses made on Wall Street will more than likely fail to turn up elsewhere, but that's part of the price of a new job," says Kelleher's Wienick. "Benefits like health care are not being cut back. But bonuses are more in flux with economy and companies are trying to budget. You can't look for too much there."
Fleishman agrees, saying "Lower your expectations when it comes to compensation. Someone might have made a 6 or 7 figure bonus in the past, but that shouldn't let that stop them from finding a new job."
Employment consultants like Execu/Search Group's Fleishman paint a dire job picture for the financial service industry, many saying it's the worse in 25 years. But Fleishman and others point to areas that are hiring, such as pharmaceuticals, legal, accounting, technology and the government. "There are more openings in health services than in our financial recruiting, says Fleishman. "We were built for financial but have expanded."