Wall Street's job creators aren't exactly living up to that billing. The market is soaring, and so are bank profits, but financial firms are preparing for a massive round of layoffs, analysts tell Fortune, estimating that the banks will cut nearly 21,000 jobs. That would be a bloodbath on par with the one that occurred during the financial crisis; 28,000 were eliminated in that purge, but that number included jobs lost in the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and at the time firms were failing, not prospering.
A new Boston Consulting Group report estimates that Wall Street will slash 12% of its workforce in the "short-term"—and "the estimate is possibly too low," says one industry insider. The banks have decided that they didn't cut enough jobs the first time around, and this time, a BCG analyst says, a lot more senior bankers could wind up in the crosshairs. One bright spot: Some smaller investment banks are actually hiring.