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- Australian candidates to plug skills gap left by recession
- Londons strengthening job market providing a draw for overseas workers as vacancy numbers are now 3.5 times higher than June 2009
- Growth in UK economy and benefits of overseas experience cause finance staff to look abroad
- One in three Australian finance staff plan on moving overseas within twelve months
- London tops list of ideal overseas work destinations

Londons financial sector will enjoy a rush of overseas talent entering the jobs market over the next twelve months as sentiment towards to UK economy turns more confident, according to Ambition, the global recruitment group.

In a poll of 800 Australian banking, finance and accounting professionals, Ambition found that three in four workers would consider moving to London to gain overseas experience within the next three years while one in three plan on moving abroad in the next twelve months.

This will be viewed positively in the City as the number of skilled overseas candidates working in London fell during the recession. It was reported in November 2008, shortly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, that the number of Australians leaving the UK each month was up 54% compared to three years earlier - 2,700 were leaving per month compared to 1,750 in 2005 . The number of overseas candidates registering for work in London also fell numbers were 40% down between June 2008 and June 2009 and 66% down between 2009 and 2010.

Overseas experience back on agenda as confidence grows in UK Economy

58% of Australian finance staff believe overseas work experience to be beneficial to their long-term career and the strengthening UK economy GDP grew 0.5% over the first quarter of 2011 has rekindled many Australian professionals desire to work abroad. The slight blip in Australian GDP contracting 1.2% in the first three months of 2011 due to the floods and cyclones in Queensland and the earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan has also had an impact on sentiment. And while this will be a temporary blip in the Australian economy, Chinas willingness to slow its growth will have a longer term impact on Australias economic performance (China is Australias number one export market) and is also contributing to staff sentiment on gaining overseas experience.

London Job Market Strengthens
The Citys job market has strengthened significantly since the nadir of the recession. There are now three and a half times more vacancies in the City than at the same point in 2009 and there is high demand for specific skills which the candidate market cannot meet. A dearth of newly qualified accountancy candidates and anyone with financial control or management reporting backgrounds are finding they have a number of options open to them. A shortage of strong business analysts and project managers in the banking and finance sector has resulted from companies overhauling their front to back office processes. And implications of the Dodd-Frank Act are beginning to filter into the London market resulting in a surge in demand for strong regulatory and operational experience.

Simon Lynch, managing director of Ambition UK, commented: Its been widely reported that there was an exodus of overseas talent during the recession as staff were made redundant, sterling weakened against other foreign currencies, and peoples earning potential diminished. The UK economy was not being cast in the best light by the international media either and this had a significant impact on the number of people considering a move to London. However, its clear that confidence in the London jobs market is picking up and that is a very good thing. There has been a significant skills gap in the City following the downturn and quality overseas candidates will help fill that gap and drive the economy forward.

London topped the list of ideal overseas work destinations with 40% of candidates naming it as their city of choice because of its position as a global financial hub and the ease with which European travel is possible. New York followed London with 14% naming it top, Singapore came in third favorite with San Francisco and Toronto making up the top five with 11.5% and 7.3% respectively. Auckland propped up the bottom of the list with 32% naming the New Zealand capital as their least ideal destination.

Using London as a base from which to travel Europe is the key motivator for Australians wishing to work here with 85% of candidates stating it was an important factor. However, benefit to long-term career progression (56%), the earning potential (46%) and plentiful job opportunities (44%) were also cited as key reasons for wishing to relocate. The cost of living was Londons main discouraging feature with 63% of candidates giving this as their key reason for any doubts over relocating, however, candidates are clear that the cost of living will be off-set by the earning potential they see London being able to offer and are keen to accept the cost of living as part of the experience of working in one of the worlds financial capitals.

Visa Restrictions
The speed-bump in the way of many overseas staff looking to work in London will be the enhanced requirements for the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa which, in some cases, will require candidates to have secured work before they arrive in the UK.

Simon Lynch, continued: The problem for many wishing to work in London over the next twelve months is the new qualification rules for the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa. These changes are restricting the number of candidates able to work in the UK for an amount of time that will boost their career potential and this will severely impact Londons growth. The City is crying out for skilled people and its clear there is an appetite from candidates with these skills to work here, but there is a huge roadblock which must be addressed if Londons economy is to power forward.


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