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Number of candidates per City job vacancies halves

Surge in demand could lead to a City poaching war
? Employees being asked to return from their career breaksThe average number of qualified candidates for each new City job vacancy has halved from 5.7 in March 2009 to just 2.7 in March 2010 reveals research by Astbury Marsden, a leading financial services recruitment firm.The jump in demand for qualified City staff could prompt a return to the aggressive poaching of top talent that was rife in the pre-credit crunch era, warns Astbury Marsden. Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden, says: This time last year, few would have predicted such a dramatic turn around in the City job market.These figures indicate we risk returning to the pre-credit crunch City employment market, with regular bidding wars and candidates juggling multiple job offers.Mark Cameron says that although this is good news for bankers, it causes problems for those banks who had hoped to push down employee compensation as a percentage of their revenue.Adds Mark Cameron: The political storm cloud hanging over the financial services sector hasnt lifted yet. The banks face a dilemma show extreme restraint on pay and face staff defections or pay up and risk the wraith of politicians.For teams and departments faced with more work or business opportunities than they can sensibly deal with, that choice is easy to make.Astbury Marsden explains that, with the market tightening, employers will need to put employee retention strategies back up the priority list. Astbury Marsden says that during the recession many businesses were forced to slash non-payroll benefits for staff.Mark Cameron says: Retaining staff is not just about throwing cash at them. Some employees can be won over by changing their job title, reporting lines or responsibilities.Astbury Marsden says that sponsoring executive education programmes such as an MBA or Masters in Finance for employees is a useful retention tool with the fees repayable by the employee if they leave the company. Candidates being lured back from their career breaksAstbury Marsden says that as demand intensifies employers are extending their searches to those higher profile City workers that had chosen to sit out the banking crisis by taking a career break.Mark Cameron says: Employers are now asking us to approach those employees who decided to spend the last six months renovating their house, backpacking or trying to get to grips with the farmland they bought years ago.We have just placed a banker that has spent the last six months raising pedigree cattle - thats not so unusual.For those unemployed bankers that havent yet been able to build up the right portfolio of skills or a good track record the market is still quite tough. At the moment employers are focused on getting the best candidates even if that means chasing prices rather than relaxing their standards.

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