Many of the big banks are on a layoff spree. Barclays Capital is axing 3,000 jobs; Credit Suisse, 2,000; meanwhile, UBS, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs are trimming payrolls as well. The cutbacks come amidst tougher financial regulations and the spreading sovereign debt crisis, but also seem to reflect the West’s shrinking weight in global finance. Last week, for example, HSBC said it plans to eliminate 30,000 jobs, but also announced that it will add 3,000 to 4,000 employees a year in emerging markets. The hiring is supposed to kick off with 200 new jobs in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. Earlier this year, Goldman announced plans to increase its Brazil workforce by 20 per cent, and Credit Suisse said it would boost the ranks of its investment bankers there. Brazil’s economy grew at a record 7.5 per cent last year, and expanded almost three times faster than that of the U.S. in the first quarter of this year.
This shift toward emerging markets is hardly surprising. Citigroup, the third-largest bank in the U.S., made more than half of its profits in developing countries last year, and revenue from there helped HSBC cushion Europe’s flat performance in the first half of 2011. At least some of the jobs, it seems, are going where the money is.