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The number of new City jobs created dropped -8% last month to 2,390 from 2,610 in April, according to financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden. Year-on-year, this figure dropped by a sharp -45%.
The recruiter said that current volumes of work are subdued, but there are positive signs for future growth. The FTSE100 has reached new highs in recent weeks, reflecting renewed optimism in the City. According to the staffing company, the FTSE100 is up +8.25% from the start of the year.
The City’s anticipation of a return to growth is also reflected in recent reports that despite scaling back its investment banking unit, UBS is set to boost base salaries for bankers and traders by 9%.
Jonathan Nicholson, Managing Director at Astbury Marsden, said: “Normally this kind of upturn in the market would lead to a surge in hiring but banks are under enormous pressure to keep their costs reined in.
“Many senior staff at investment banks are also tied up in dealing with regulatory issues – ranging from the minutiae of compliance work through to capital adequacy – that they have had little time to focus on pursuing new areas of growth.”
Although the financial recruiter expects the next three months to be “patchy”, there has been a greater sense of optimism building around the City jobs market.
“In Q1, we saw stronger financial results from several City employers,” said Mr Nicholson. “In addition to this, the stock market has recently seen new highs and some banks have identified an immediate need to increase base salaries to keep them competitive. These are all signs of better things to come. But we’ll need to go through a much longer period of stability before the shareholders start encouraging investment banks to increase headcount.”