Wall Street Will Never Be the Same Again

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The financial jobs market isn't doing well and no one expects it to make a comeback anytime soon, if ever. The latest stats and testimonials out of the financial sector shows that Wall Streeters are going through another round of 2008-style lay-offs. This year, so far, the global financial-services industry has lost 200,000 jobs, reports Bloomberg's Max Abelson and Ambereen Choudhury. That's up from 174,000 in 2009 -- that horrifying year everything fell apart. But beyond sheer numbers, the scary part about these layoffs for prospective bankers is that the jobs don't look like they're coming back anytime soon. 

This is more than just lay-offs, the entire financial economy is changing.  A more optimistic Moody's analyst guessed the jobs might come back in 2023, write Abelson and Choudhury. But others thing this is a permanent change. "This is something very different," Huw Jenkins, a former head of investment banking at UBS AG (UBSN) explained in Bloomberg. "This is a structural change. The industry is shrinking." And it's a change that is here to stay.  "A lot of the positions that are being cut right now aren’t coming back,"  a vice president with the recruiting firm Right Management Leslie K. Hild told DealBook's Kevin Roose.

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There's something bigger going on here than shrinking economy, it's a paradigm shift. Industry headcount has dropped 17 percent since 2008, reports Roose. And young bankers are feeling it most. "The number of investment bank and brokerage firm employees between the ages 20 and 34 fell by 25 percent from the third quarter of 2008 to the same period of 2011, a loss of 110,000 jobs from layoffs, attrition and voluntary departures," continues Roose. 

For Occupy Wall Streeters hoping to inspire this very type of change, this might be good news. But for the individual banker, who believes they worked hard, it's not as exciting. "These are by far my darkest days," former Jeffries banker Scott Schubert told Max Abelson and Ambereen Choudhury. Steve Ferdman, a recently laid-off banker seconds that sentiment. "I did everything right. I came into work every day, I put in long hours, and I still got punched in the face," he said. "People shouldn’t want to work in this industry anymore."  

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.