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AstburyMarsden Says City Jobs drop 11% in March

AstburyMarsden Says City Jobs drop 11% in March

•             3,180 jobs in March 2012, down from 3,585 in February

•             Most hiring for replacement of staff, not expansion

The City jobs market is still showing few signs of a permanent thaw, says Astbury Marsden, a leading financial services recruitment firm.

According to Astbury Marsden, there were approximately 3,180 new City job vacancies created in March 2012, an 11% drop on the 3,585 created in February 2012. In March 2011 there were approximately 5,900 new City job vacancies.

Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden says: “This is disappointing news for those bankers who found themselves laid off before Christmas.”

“The flow of new vacancies coming onto the market remains sluggish and for the Tier 1 investment banks recruitment has been limited to replacing staff that they are losing through natural attrition.”

“Those who were hoping that an easing of the Eurozone crisis would lead to a sudden, sustained and obvious recovery in the City jobs market have been wrong footed.”

“Shareholders are still putting the banks under pressure to improve some stubbornly high cost to income ratio. Until those ratios improve banks are unlikely to release the brakes on hiring. Trading conditions may be healthier but banks have seen too many false dawns over the last few years to get carried away now.”

Astbury Marsden estimates that there are now over 2.3 qualified candidates for every available City job, down from 1.7 in March 2011

Astbury Marsden says that one reason why recruitment levels were weaker than usually seen this time of year is because of the low level of post bonus defections of staff from one bank to another.

Comments Mark Cameron: “Confidence is weak, a lot of investment bankers doubt that they are going to find a new home that easily so they are prepared to live with the shock of a low, and in many instances, zero bonus for at least a few months more. They are biding their time.”

“There are some rays of hope, as banks and other City firms are now making firmer commitments to areas they are going to focus on for 2012 and this will free up some hiring as business plans are put into place. Many firms found the turbulent market in the latter stages of 2011 prohibited them from making forecasts for 2012. ”

Astbury Marsden adds that investment banks and other City firms are trying to retain and move staff internally, which could also explain the drop in the number of new advertised jobs. As the year progresses, these firms may find that they do not have a big enough pool of available talent to implement these hiring plans internally, which could mean that more new jobs are released.

Explains Mark Cameron: “As the year progresses those vacancies will still be unfilled which will jeopardise the business plans of those departments – at that point banks realise they will have to take that talent from a competitor rather than trying to fish in quite a small internal pool of candidates.”

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