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With bankers working from home, headhunters are making calls

Working from home again has its downsides, particularly when the days are short and the weather is dank. But if you're looking for something to break the monotony of endless coffees and carbs, the good news is that people want to call you up. They are headhunters, and they have spied an opportunity to chat with candidates now that everyone's working from home due to Omicron.

"People are sitting at home again, feeling all unloved," says one senior equities headhunter in London. "I'm incredibly busy following the work from home announcement - this evening I have two Zoom interviews that were supposed to be face to face."

In the UK, most banks now have staff working from home as per government guidance. Goldman Sachs told London staff to work from home if they can this Monday, for example; JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Citi have all issued similar edicts asking staff to stay away. In New York, Jefferies asked staff to work from home after a COVID outbreak and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has acknowledged defeat after trying to summon everyone back to their desks. 

The return home full time comes after most people have been spending at least part of the week in the office and follows warnings in London that anyone with cold symptoms probably has COVID. 

Last time people worked from home full time - in the first half of 2021, headhunters made the most of back to back Zoom interviews to move as many people as possible. At this time of the year, and with bonuses approaching, that wouldn't usually be possible, but 2021 is not a normal year. 

"It just hasn't stopped," says the equities headhunter. "We had someone resign two days ago, which would never normally happen at this stage of the year. There's so much change and hiring going on that people have been moving continuously throughout 2021 and I don't see 2022 as being any different." 

Most headhunter calls at this time of the year will not be interviews, however, but attempts to warm-up candidates for 2022, when mass resignations are expected/hoped-for after bonuses have been paid.

COVID's resurgence isn't entirely beneficial for the London financial services recruiting scene, however. One fixed income headhunter said it's becoming difficult to reach people due to illness, and that some banks appear to be having trouble staffing their desks as a result of Omicron.

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Photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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