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Recruitment Shifts From West to East: Headhunters

Global companies are increasingly shifting recruitment for highly-skilled jobs from older markets in Europe and the US to emerging economies in Asia, headhunters told CNBC, as a new wave of job cuts threatens the City and Wall Street.

Dana Neely | Jetta Productions | Getty Images

Around 60,000 job cuts in eight major banks, including Lloyds Banking Group

and HSBC , have been announced this summer as economic growth slows and worries about a double-dip recession increase.

In many cases, companies are continuing to recruit elsewhere in the world while reducing headcount in more expensive, slower-growing markets like Europe. Executive pay packets are growing faster in Asia as competition for talent heats up.

"There's a macro crisis and large companies are reducing headcount," Albert Ellis, CEO of recruitment company Harvey Nash , told CNBC Tuesday. "What they are not explaining is the pace of technological change and moving from the West to the East, where they are hiring."

Financial services jobs have been particularly badly hit.

"It's one of the sectors that will come back strongly first, but will also be cut first,"

Tom Hadley, director of policy and professional services at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, told CNBC.com.

He added that REC members said that jobs in London's City had stagnated, although there was still appetite for the right senior people and rainmakers.

"The market is running out of steam again," Hadley warned.

BP, a client of Harvey Nash, said recently that they couldn't find enough UK-based engineers to expand in the North Sea. Trevor Garlick, head of the company's North Sea operations, lamented that there were not enough engineers with the "right skills" in the UK, where BP is based.

Ellis spoke of a "change of emphasis" from West to East. This is not entirely straightforward, with some corporations who already have substantial operations in Asia scaling back everywhere, Ellis said.

"Technology is changing faster than we can educate younger people," he said.

Youth unemployment and poor education are two of many factors which have been blamed for the recent riots in the UK.

"Politicians are clearly grappling with it," said Ellis.

He added that sometimes companies can employ more people in developed markets if they save money by employing in cheaper emerging markets.

"The jobs story is a complicated one, and it's a competitive situation," he added.

"You now have a global demand and a global market.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon upgraded Harvey Nash from "hold" to "buy" Tuesday after an upbeat trading statement and a recent sell-off of the stock.

While there have been worries that raising tax rates might drive top earners away from more developed economies, Ellis said that there was no evidence of this.

"It’s still something candidates are asking about, but the reality is that we are not seeing wholesale moves to other countries," he said.

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