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UK – City job numbers fall but jobseeker numbers rise

17 February 2014

There was a decrease of -6% in the number of jobs available in the City during January 2014, compared with January 2013. However, month-on-month, the number of jobs available rose by +86%, according to the latest London Employment Monitor from Morgan McKinley.

The number of professionals seeking jobs rose by +64% during January 2014, compared with a year ago, signalling to continued optimism among City jobseekers. Month-on-month the number of jobseekers rose by +98% compared with December 2013.

Hakan Enver, Operations Director at Morgan McKinley Financial Services, commented: “As we predicted in last month’s monitor, City recruitment increased considerably in January after a traditional slowdown at the end of last year.  Newly released recruitment budgets, coupled with an increased urgency for certain positions following December’s hiring shutdown, has resulted in a huge hike in positions across the board. This is in keeping with recent reports that, as economic confidence hit a record high, job vacancies have risen at the fastest rate since 1998.”

“This has been particularly evident within the contract market, where we have not only seen heightened demand, but also a reduction in the time to hire.  Whilst historically contractors could expect three or four interview rounds before an offer, today we are seeing this reduced to one or two.  Contractors that not only have the technical ability, but who are also a good cultural fit are being snapped up very quickly.”

Mr Enver continued: “Elsewhere we have seen increased demand within the finance and internal audit space.  On the finance side, it is clear that the majority of firms are looking to build out their non-product areas or functions that have a broad overview of all of their business functions… The regulatory functions of various large banks continue to be a key focus, as many of the implementations around the BASEL III framework require experienced individuals who are comfortable operating in change/project environments. We are expecting this trend to continue as we advance through 2014.”

“Meanwhile, within the internal audit space, January saw a lot of activity in the recruitment of Credit Risk and Counterparty Risk Auditors at all levels. Similarly, Market and Model Risk Auditors have been in high demand.  The main reason for this is due to growth as opposed to simply replacement hiring which has been a trend over the last 24 months.  Businesses are also looking to shift their audit lines into more specialised team structures, in line with the changes in the regulatory landscape.  Another area of focus has been Senior Audit Manager/VP level hires into Corporate Banking for similar reasons.”

He added: “On the jobseeker side, the increased numbers again point towards increased confidence among City jobseekers. However the month-on-month rise can also be attributed to a large influx of European CVs, in particular from French bankers. This is perhaps unsurprising given the current economic situation in France, coupled with a more favourable tax regime for high earners in the UK, which is positioning London as an attractive destination.”

“We have also seen a rise in the number of professionals open to new positions in light of the changes to bonuses. Whilst some institutions have yet to award them this year, what is very clear is that candidates are now prioritising other factors when deciding to consider new opportunities.  For example, more recently, candidates are looking to move positions to secure lucrative base salaries on offer elsewhere,” Mr Enver explained.

The average salary increase for those securing new jobs in January 2014 was +20%, compared with 27% in December 2013.

“Although the average salary change for those securing new position in January fell back to 20%, there are still strong signs that clients are prepared to offer premiums where necessary in order to recruit finance professionals into their business units. I would expect this trend to continue during the course of this year… Looking further ahead into 2014, we predict continued optimism in the City,” Mr Enver concluded. 

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