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Monitoring the pulse of the City jobs market for eight years

Financial services job opportunities in 2011 fell compared to 2010, but higher than 2009

Morgan McKinley’s London Employment Monitor registered a year-on-year decrease in total job opportunities in 2011 of 8% and a fall of 43% compared to 2006

Month-on-month, there was a 36% decline in new financial services job opportunities in December 11

Compared to the same month last year, this was also a 30% decrease on the number of available roles in the financial services sector

December 11 also saw the number of professionals looking for new positions fall by 40% month-on-month and 7% compared to the same time last year

The time taken to fill vacant roles in December 11 rose by 6 days month-on-month to 61 days

For those starting new jobs in December 11, the average salary fell by 8% compared to those beginning roles in November 11.

The Morgan McKinley London Employment Monitor in 2011 registered a year-on-year decrease of 8% from 61,671 to 56,587 financial services job opportunities. Compared to 2009, job availability rose by 36%, although it was a 43% decrease from 2006 when hiring activity was almost at its peak in the financial services sector with 99,351 positions available across the London market.

Month-on-month there was a 36% decline in the number of available jobs across London’s financial services sector from 2,725 to 1,733 in December 11.  Compared to December 10 this was a drop of 30% from 2,457.

The number of professionals looking for new roles in financial institutions in December 11 fell monthly by 40% from 9,675 to 5,802. However compared to the same month last year, the number fell by a more modest 7% from 6,270 professionals.

Andrew Evans, COO, Morgan McKinley Financial Services commented:

“Now that Morgan McKinley has been measuring job opportunities in the London financial services sector for eight years, we are well positioned to illustrate the meteoric rise of the financial services hiring market, followed by the dramatic effects of the credit crunch starting in 08 (Chart 1).  Comparing 2011 to the previous year shows that job opportunities fell by 8% and a much larger 43% drop compared to 2006 when financial services hiring was peaking.  This pattern of hiring strongly reflects the shape of the global economy over these years. 

“Returning to December 11 – job availability was at its lowest monthly level for the whole calendar year.  This is partly because December typically sees a fall in job opportunities as it is a shorter working month due to the festive period.  However taking this into account, December 11 represented an even greater slowdown than expected in financial institutions’ hiring activity across London.

“As mentioned in previous Employment Monitors, onging issues in the eurozone, compounded by turbulence in financial markets sent shockwaves through financial institutions in Q3 11 and Q4 11, rendering the hiring market very subdued, particularly in the wind down towards Christmas.  Sentiment from hiring managers remained highly cautious in December 11, influenced by well-documented volatility across financial markets plus announcements of potential lay-offs.  This has had a clear effect on professionals’ confidence in the jobs market, with a 40% drop in those who were active in the hiring market in December 11.”

Recruitment timescales lengthen

The time taken to place financial services professionals in new roles increased by 6 days in December 11 to reach 61 days.  The average salary for those starting new roles across the City was &pound47,565 in December 11 – a drop of 7% compared to those taking up new jobs in November 11.

Andrew Evans continued:

“The increase in the time taken to fill job opportunities from 55 to 61 days – the longest period since February 11 – highlights the challenges that exist in managing professionals through the process of securing a new role.  Whilst it is usual to see recruitment processes in some institutions speed up to get key hires on board towards the end of year, evidence in December 11 points towards the opposite with even longer job sign-off and interview processes.  As we have noted previously, the City hiring market thrives on confidence, and there is currently a distinct lack of confidence amongst hiring managers.

“Referring back to the last eight years of the London Employment Monitor, we look with interest to see how 2012 will pan out.  Anecdotal evidence from the City’s major employers indicates that the first half of 2012 may be slightly better than H1 11, but visibility remains limited.  Looking at recent history, even in the & lsquo;rebound’ year of 2010, the overall volume of jobs released (61,671) was so far below 2007 job numbers (114,471) that it begs the question we are regularly asked: will London financial services hiring ever return to the same level of activity?”


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