Financial hiring dips as firms move London jobs

The relocation of jobs from London amid fears over the ramifications of Brexit has led to a sharp drop in recruitment in the capital’s financial sector, according to a new report.

The latest London Employment Monitor from financial services recruiters Morgan McKinley shows the number of jobs available in the sector dropped by 23 per cent in February to 6,945 compared to 9,015 vacancies in January. Year on year, the figure was 17 per cent lower than February 2016.Hakan Enver, Morgan McKinley operations director, said, “Brexit has pushed institutions into two camps. On one side we’ve got the ‘business as usual’ team and, on the other, we have the institutions that are tired of the government’s hemming and hawing and have already begun to move jobs to other EU countries.“It’s the latter group that’s contributed to the quarter drop in jobs available. For many, it’s simply proving easier to get ahead of the worst-case scenario and get out of London now.

Brexit a “depressing” effect on jobs

“The data suggests that Brexit has had a fundamental depressing effect on City jobs. We’ve already witnessed, what was a handful of jobs leaving, become hundreds. How long before we’re looking at losing thousands, even millions?”Banks and other firms in the sector fear that when the UK leaves the EU, financial services in London will lose the ‘passporting rights’ that currently enable them to trade freely throughout Europe.
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Several banks have already drawn up plans to move jobs to the likes of Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin, and this week Axel Webber, chairman of UBS, said that around 1,000 UK jobs were at risk because of Brexit. He said the Swiss bank would step up its plans to move jobs because the two-year negotiation process for Brexit “simply would not work” for its relocation strategy.“London is still home to the best financial services talent in the world but, if the jobs go, so will people. And when they leave, it will devastate the financial services infrastructure, costing British citizens jobs, too,” Mr Enver said.

A threat to Europe’s financial services

But he added that Brexit posed a threat not just to the City of London but to Europe’s financial services network, which could be left depleted if banks opted to shift jobs to other regions, such as the US and Asia.“There’s no telling what the City or the larger financial services sector will look like a year from today, as companies continue to move a piece here and a piece there. Once enough pieces of the banking infrastructure are dispersed, the whole thing could collapse,” he said.The survey also showed the number of job seekers in financial services had fallen by 12 per cent between January and February. Year on year, the fall in candidates was 38 per cent.Earlier in the week, a survey from Manpower Group also found that employers in the capital were scaling back hiring intentions to a three-year low.“Brexit uncertainty is beginning to bite for London’s employers,” said Simon Edwards, operations director at Manpower. “While we’re not seeing signs that businesses are planning to follow UBS and HSBC in moving jobs out of the capital, we certainly expect hiring to slow down over the next three months.”

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