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City jobs stabilise after June slump

City jobs stabilise after June slump

2,985 jobs in July 2012, up from 2,895 in June 2012

The number of new City jobs has stabilised after a slump in June says Astbury Marsden, a leading financial services recruitment firm.

According to Astbury Marsden, there were approximately 2,985 City jobs created in July 2012, a 3 % rise from June 2012, when 2,895 were created.

Astbury Marsden says that number of new City jobs is still down by 39% on July 2011, when approximately 4,880 were created.

Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden, says: “Although there has been some growth over the last month, the appetite to hire in the City remains pretty thin. Banks are hiring new staff, although this is more often than not to replace departing staff, as opposed to reacting to an anticipated growth in investment banking revenue.”

“With the uncertainty generated by the on-going rumblings from the Spanish banking sector and the seemingly ever-present Eurozone problems, we’re not expecting things to improve dramatically this year. Still, in this context, a stabilisation in new jobs is a positive.”

Astbury Marsden adds that the reputation of the London financial services sector has come under increasing attack over manipulated borrowing rates and the mis-selling of swaps. Any change in sentiment towards London as an international finance centre risks heaping further pressure on the City jobs market as banks and hedge funds continue to review where to allocate operational and HR budget.

Says Mark Cameron: “Banker bashing has returned to London with a vengeance, and bullish optimism, which is usually more prevalent in the City than in other sectors, is now a rare commodity. Politicians and commentators need to stay balanced in their contributions to the public debate about the City, as they risk jeopardising a major source of jobs.”

“London’s reputation as a centre of banking excellence has been damaged over the last few weeks and there is always the risk that politicians and regulators may over-react. Uncertainty over the future and regulatory burden could keep hiring confidence low.”

Mark Cameron continues: “Although there are far bigger issues than the Olympics affecting banks, this hasn’t helped the City hiring markets. Meetings have been postponed due to travel considerations, and City staff may be taking time off to attend the Games. This can affect decision making on recruitment.”

“The real question is, will City recruitment activity be postponed until later in the third quarter of this year or will it not bounce back at all?”

Retail banking IT offers hope

Astbury Marsden says that speculation over the potential overhauling of some IT platforms of retail banks could offer an opportunity for growth for the City jobs market. Says Mark Cameron: “Although there is no immediate sign of a sudden flood of work, many are saying that the decisions of some banks to upgrade their retail IT platforms could produce new City jobs.”

Astbury Marsden adds that whilst the number of City staff looking for a new job has increased over the last month, numbers are still down significantly on the same period in 2011. In July 2012, there were approximately 6,200 City staff looking for a new job, down from approximately 14,290 in July 2011.

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