The job market in the fund industry has softened in the past year so much that the edge prospective employees once had in negotiating benefits and other perquisites as conditions of their employment has been eliminated, according to industry recruiters.

It was only a year ago that job seekers could request an equity stake, signing bonus or other perquisites with a fund company and have the request considered seriously, said J. David Barrett, a partner with Heidrick & Struggles of New York. Job candidates could negotiate with prospective employers much more aggressively, but "there is a much more level playing field," between employees and employers in today's market, he said.

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