Lehman Brothers IT staff will only survive a major cull if the liquidators make quick sales of individual business units, industry commentators said today.
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However, the high quality of the investment bank's IT staff should stand them in good stead in the job market after the firm filed for bankruptcy in the latest shockwave to hit the financial services industry.
The bank's business will be sold off to other banks - a process that could take up to two months, according toTowergroup analyst Ralph Silva.
"If the liquidators can sell lines of business relatively quickly, there is a chance that some of the IT operations will continue to live," Silva said. "If this does not happen, only about one IT employee in every 100 will survive."
Lehman Brothers had invested heavily in its IT staff.
"They are the cream of the crop and have a very good chance of getting work with the companies," said Silva. "For example, it pays its developers more than Microsoft pays its developers."
Robert Morgan, director at Hamilton Bailey, which advises IT outsourcers, said that banks attracted the best IT workers because they paid well.
"They are running fault-tolerant systems that recover quickly," he said.
Lehman Brothers will continue to run its IT systems while it is in administration.
"There has to be a complete record of the business and a smaller subset ot IT will continue for years to come," Morgan said.
He added that some assets and their IT would be sold by the administrators in the next 12 to 36 months and the IT systems might go to the acquirers. "A few key staff will remain but the bulk will be lost."