The Bright Side Of Wall Street Layoffs

There’s no denying it: the face of Wall Street is changing.

In recent weeks alone, we’ve seen UBS cut 10,000, Citigroup cut 11,000, and Credit Suisse cut between 1,000 and 2,000. Today Barclays announced 2,000. Earlier, Bank of America said it would try to eliminate 16,000 jobs before the end of 2012.  All told, as of Nov. 16, 2012 had seen 160,000 Wall Street positions chopped.

No bank wants to be the first to report massive layoffs. It would indicate to the public that their business is suffering and other talented employees might move to a competitor rather than wait to get axed.

On the other hand, once one bank starts laying off staff, other banks jump on board and do the same. All of the above-named banks have blamed layoffs on the current economic climate, difficulties in Europe, the fiscal cliff, etc. Wall Street traditionally over-hires in good times and over-fire in bad. Now that executives have the chance to cut costs drastically, they are doing so before bonus season.

But there may be a small bright side here. We have hope for the industry. Goldman Sachs just released their economic outlook for 2013 and it’s bullish on big banks. Even though big banks are laying off workers, they may sense that times are going to change next year and they are going to ride that wave.  When the economy starts to look up in 2013, as predicted, the CEOs will be praised for their strategic cost-cutting.

And then, hopefully, they will start to hire back.

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Jack Kelly is CEO of Compliance Search Group and publisher of the CompliancEX blog and newsletter. Beth Connolly is Editor-in-Chief of the Wall Street Job Report and the Compliance Exchange. She blogs creatively at When Nutmeg Met Basil. Connect with her on LinkedIn , Twitter, and About.Me.

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