The uncertain economic climate has dimmed job prospects for the rest of the year and going forward into 2012, with investment banks especially vulnerable to cuts, Guy Day, CEO of recruitment firm Ambition told CNBC.
“Red lights are flashing in board rooms across the world with questions being asked around employment costs,” Day, who is in charge of Ambition's business in Europe, Asia and Australia, said.
The investment banking sector is set to face a “very difficult” period, as there is a lot of talk of restructuring and reshaping of the industry, he added.
With cost cutting plans being implemented and worsening earnings projections for the banks, Day noted that it is a lot more difficult for firms to get approval for new hires.
HSBC and Bank of America recently announced plansto shed 30,000 jobs each over the next few years.
“Approved hiring is running at a very slow speed, multiple signatures are required before job offers are made,” he said.
Even job seekers in Asian financial centers like Singapore and Hong Kong are finding it increasingly difficult to get a break.
“I’ve been job hunting in Singapore for around 2 months. Have interviewed and met with people from 10 different banks, all of which have told me that they are on a head count freeze in their recruitment and this probably won’t change until the economic situation picks up,” said a 22-year-old, Singaporean who has graduated from Tufts University and interviewed at banks including Goldman Sachs , JP Morgan , HSBC and Standard Chartered .
“It’s quite discouraging if you come from the U.S. because you expect the situation to be better here (in Asia),” she added.
In terms of compensation, Day said employees shouldn’t hold their breath for fat bonuses this year as there has already been an increase in base salaries. “Banks have less to play with now.”