Capital2's Blog

Recruitment and Career advice for the High Tech and Banking Industries

Capital2 bosses speak at HEC Paris

February 12th, Capital2 Solutions founder Sam Kirby gave a talk to the 2009 MBA class at  HEC Paris (France’s top business school). The subject was the Hiring Markets for 2009 / 2010 and the hour long presentation gave rise to some healthy questions and debate at the end of the talk.


February 17, 2009 Posted by | Banking News, Capital2, Interview Technique, Macroeconomic News, random, Technology News, The Team | 2 Comments

Recruitment Market 2009

So how are things shaping up for 2009?

Well, there’s overwhelming consensus that hiring will slow down across the board. Profits are down, therefore budgets are down therefore hiring slows….. logical. Our core markets of banking and high technology are broad enough to enable us to react effectively to this, but we’d be stupid to think that next year will be easy.

How does this affect the way we work?

Well generally in tough economic periods, there are a lot of candidates on the market (redundancies etc), and fewer new jobs being created. The inverse is roughly true in boom times, where there are lots of jobs compared to the number of suitable candidates. This means we as a company have to do 3 main things:

  1. We work harder to find new roles to fill, and try to keep tight hold of our existing (hiring) client base.
  2. We have to ensure that the ratio between being asked to hire a role and actually filling it is as close as possible to perfection.
  3. We need to maintain an accurate and large database of active candidates to ensure we react quickly in the event of being retained by a client. This can even take the form of partnerships with 3rd party researchers or RPO companies.

So we will be affected. We service the banking and technology markets, both of which will be squeezing suppliers (ie us) hard over 2009. That said, our management team have already come through one serious recession – no reason they can’t come out the other side of this one smiling too!!!!

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Capital2, Macroeconomic News, The Team | , , , , | 1 Comment

Recession? The end of Free market capitalism? Run for the Hills!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having blogged quite a bit earlier this year on the sub prime issues, we have stayed away from doing so purely because it has been impossible to keep up with the various banks collapsing, being taken over, nationalised etc. We also predicted the recession was part of a cycle… this has been proved to be an optimistic view.

At time of writing the US congress’ bailout bill has yet to be adopted (defeated when put to the vote), the european nations are burying their heads in the sand and the markets are in turmoil. So is it time to start stockpiling food and living in your cellar?

Well, no, not really. What the past few days have shown us is that governments do not actually subscribe to the ‘free market’ theory as so famously championed by Greenspan. When it comes to the crunch (and to vote losing economic hardship!) governments will intervene on the markets to prop up failing institutions. Is this right?

Well yes and no. Yes if ordinary consumers’ property and savings are in danger. No if the bank has speculated purely to accumulate wealth for itself. Call us old fashioned but we feel the purpose of a bank is to finance the economy, not to make themselves rich to the detriment of the rest of the economy. Some of the greed that has been exhibited has been quite astounding. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Where to now? We think the economic situation will not bottom out until the summer of 2009, and then will begin to show growth for the last quarter of the year. It will be a tough period for many, but if this means a return to the parsimonius and non debt-reliant outlook of previous generations then this can only be a healthy development.

Good luck everybody!

September 30, 2008 Posted by | Banking News, Capital2, Macroeconomic News | , , , , | Leave a comment

End of Q3, heading into Q4, expectations??

Summer is ending, and that means there are 4 months left till year end. September is all about tying up processes from the summer hiatus, and building for the end of the year.

Clients need to hire by end september if the want someone to start before the end of 08, candidates need to begin looking now if they want a new role for 09. All sorts of factors come into play as new budgets are thrashed out in companies across the world.

Our world (nice link there eh) looks OK. Our focus is the technology and especially enterprise software hiring and this area seems less affected than the other side of our business (banking) by the global downturn.. let’s hope this continues.

We are continuing to work with established players, start-ups and US firms looking to enter EMEA and we are on target to hit our first full year’s forecast…. hopefully with some healthy invoices to send to kick off 2009 well!

Keep updated on our job lists

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Capital2, Macroeconomic News | | Leave a comment

Credit Crisis bottoming out????

Well the markets are more stable, various results have been more positive than thought, the shock at what has been going on in the world of banking has subsided and turned into a world weary cynicism….. is the crisis over?

Well to be honest it depends who you ask. It also depends on the amount of foreclosures that take place over the next 12 months.

House prices seem to be falling in the US and UK or at least not experiencing any growth which is worrying, and the general inflation in the eurozone is not being tackled by Monsieur Trichet and the ECB who will not or cannot reduced interest rates as easily as the Fed or the Bank of England.

I guess we will have to wait and see, the crisis is probably not over, but hopefully will not get any worse before things start to pick up. We see this as part of a wider need for the markets in construction and housing to correct themselves, but hopefully this will be a ‘U’ shaped recession.

May 12, 2008 Posted by | Macroeconomic News | | Leave a comment

US presidential election…..

The biggest news in the biggest economy in the world is obviously the upcoming Presidential Election. The Republicans have pretty much decided on their candidate, the Vietnam war hero John McCain, but the Democratic nominees are still slugging it out in a potentially damaging fight to see who will represent them in the autumn polls. The battle between Obama and Clinton is every bit as enthralling as the actual election itself promises to be.

Capital2 has a vested interest in US politics as many of our main clients are headquartered there. A quick poll round the offices shows our ideological support is behind Obama to beat Clinton and then to beat McCain. However there are doubts about whether Obama can mobilize enough support to outwit the Republicans and win the entire thing. We hope so, but there are bound to be a lot of twists and turns yet to come.

In our January predictions for 2008 we stated that Bloomberg would step in to race as an independent but this hasn’t happened, ah well, you can’t win them all!

May 12, 2008 Posted by | Capital2, Macroeconomic News, random | | Leave a comment

Sub Prime woes continue. Boooooooo

France’s biggest retail bank Credit Agricole made a loss in the last three months of 2007, hit by a hefty charge at its Calyon investment banking arm. Credit Agricole lost 857m euros ($1.3bn, £657m) in the fourth quarter, after Calyon took a 3.3bn-euro charge on losses related to the credit crisis.

That charge is worse than Credit Agricole’s forecast in December of a 2.5bn-euro loss.

The bank also dismissed rumours that it might bid for Societe Generale.

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Banking News, Macroeconomic News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will US recession hit hiring in EMEA?

From the BBC – hiring could be hit in mid to late 2008 if these predictions are correct.

European and Asian shares have fallen on continuing fears of a US recession and slowing corporate profit growth.

The UK’s FTSE 100 stock index fell 1.3% to 5946.40, while Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac fell about 1%.

Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei index had fallen to its lowest in more than two years, closing 3.4% lower at 13,504.51.

The slide in share prices was triggered on Tuesday by a quarterly loss at US bank Citigroup and a report showing weak US retail sales over Christmas.

Indexes tumbled on the news, with the UK FTSE 100 index shedding 3% on Tuesday and the negative sentiment seeping into Wednesday.

Analysts warned that more declines may be on the way as concerns about the corporate and economic environment persist.

“The fallout from the Citigroup result is significant,” said Trent Muller of ABN Amro Morgan.

“We will see a bit of panic selling with a lot of investors taking cash off the table today.”

Francis Lun of Fulbright Securities said that problems in the US, where a slump in the housing market and higher interest rates have amplified concerns, would continue to stalk the markets.

“American financial mismanagement has brought us to this economic meltdown,” Mr Lun said.

Mortgage market

Many investors are now predicting that interest rate cuts will be needed to keep the US economy going, and the US dollar fell as a result.

Investors tend to seek out currencies and assets in nations with higher interest rates as that increases their returns.

On Tuesday, Citigroup said that it had made a net loss of almost $10bn (£5bn) for the last three months of 2007 because it had to cut the value of investments that were linked to the US housing market.

The bank, one of the biggest in the world in terms of assets, said the loss had been caused by an $18.1bn exposure to bad mortgage debt.

This reinforced the extent of the housing crisis in the US, while spurring worries that other banks were still harbouring undisclosed losses.

On Wednesday, Germany’s Dax was trading down 0.9% at 7498.20, while France’s Cac shed 1.2% to 5189.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed almost 4% lower.

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Macroeconomic News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US enters recession according to Merrill Lynch, will this knock on into EU?

From the BBC:

The feared recession in the US economy has already arrived, according to a report from Merrill Lynch.

It said that Friday’s employment report, which sent shares tumbling worldwide, confirmed that the US is in the first month of a recession.

Its view is controversial, with banks such as Lehman Brothers disagreeing.

But a reserve member of the committee that sets US rates warned that it could do little about the below-trend growth expected in the next six months.

“I am concerned that developments on the inflation front will make the Fed’s policy decisions more difficult in 2008,” Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said.

He was referring to the problems faced by the US Federal Reserve, which might want to cut interest rates to avoid a recession, but is worried about inflationary factors such as $100-a-barrel oil.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Macroeconomic News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2008 Predictions

Happy New Year! Bonne Année!

The New Year always brings a rash of predictions for the 12 months ahead. Here are a few lighthearted ideas about what 2008 will bring in our world of European Recruitment for the banking and high-tech sectors, and also in the wider, weirder world:

  • With the price of oil continuing to rise even after hitting the magical $100 dollar mark, company cars and fuel cards become a thing of the past as high tech firms begin to offer company unicycles instead. This is fine at HQ in California and actually increases productivity, but this is matched by dismay in the Nordics where the idea of unicycling to work through 2 metres of snow is not widely appreciated.
  • The Banking sector continues to mask the true extent of the sub-prime lending fiasco by flooding the market with equity and funding several high profile M+A rounds….. the public is satisfied that the global economy is strong and consumer confidence increases. That is until the memoires of the ex Merrill Lynch boss are published in june entitled ‘you bunch of fools – how we let banks rule the world badly’.
  • Hiring at Google continues apace and a new initiative is launched whereby using their search technology they can pinpoint geniuses (geniuii??) actually in the womb. A six month foetus provisionally named Jean-Lucien becomes head of R+D in April.
  • The search for Credit Risk analysts in UK retail banking becomes so competitive that new graduates are offered £40k.
  • The Private Banking world decides that Switzerland and Luxembourg are not private enough for their clients and the entire industry decamps to a remote iceberg off the coast of Antarctica. With the summer seas warming up around April, many analysts and money managers slip off and drown in June-July. Frustrated by the dwindling talent pool, UBS begin training penguins as client managers.
  • Monaco declares war on France as Nicolas Sarkozy insults the principality by going ‘on the pull’ there in September after his acrimonious split from yet another supermodel. His lewd comments at a photo of the then Grace Kelly infuriate the Monegasques and lead to a diplomatic crisis and ultimately war.
  • Monaco wins and abolishes tax on income in France.
  • Bloomberg enters the race for the US presidency.
  • The US election leads to either a democrat or a republican in the White House (a bold prediction)….. nothing really changes.
  • Capital2 Solutions continues to grow and develop as a company…….

Have a very happy and prosperous 2008, we wil revisit these predictions at the end of the year to see how close we get. In the meantime our website is now LIVE! So visit us at

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Banking News, Capital2, Macroeconomic News, random, Technology News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment