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New City jobs up by 16% in a month as confidence starts to return

New City jobs up by 16% in a month as confidence starts to return 

2,490 vacancies advertised last month, defying traditional August lull

Employers starting to back-fill front office vacancies 

Recruitment activity in the City picked up in August with the number of new jobs created up by 16%, according to Astbury Marsden, a leading financial services recruitment firm. 

According to Astbury Marsden, 2,490 new City jobs were created in August, compared to 2,150 in July. This is despite August traditionally being a quiet month for hiring.

Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden, says: “This upturn in new job creation in the City, coming at time when recruitment is generally pretty sluggish, is a positive sign that confidence is starting to return and that we may be turning that corner.” 

“We are seeing many employers who have been holding back from hiring, for revenue-generating front office positions such as investment bankers and traders and their IT and other support teams, now starting to feel that the time is right to start filling these roles in order to help drive business growth.”

He explains, “Recent years have seen recruitment in “back office” areas like risk control and regulatory compliance holding up well as investment banks have had to cope with increasing regulatory requirements and enforcement action – and that is where we are still seeing a lot of the action. However employers have found it very difficult to justify replacing staff let alone increasing headcount for roles outside risk and compliance, which has left some areas operating with just a skeleton team.”

“But now City employers do seem to be feeling more comfortable about staffing up in their most profitable divisions. They want to be ready to take advantage of growth opportunities as the economy picks up and the outlook improves for equity markets and IPO and M&A activity.” 

Astbury Marsden says that although the equity markets are again near recent highs and that IPO market is warming up there are still many teams in the City that are finding pickings far slimmer – for example emerging markets debt issuance has encountered a precipitous slowdown.

Adds Mark Cameron, “Of course, there is still plenty of scope for shocks on the road ahead, as we have seen even in the last few weeks with concerns over the situation in Syria and issues in India, but that said, optimism among both employers and employees does appear to be picking up.” 

Astbury Marsden says that candidate numbers in August were slightly above the year to date average, with an estimated 4,680 people looking for a new job in the City last month. 

Says Mark Cameron, “City workers who may have been playing it safe and staying put are now starting to feel more confident about moving on. That has led to a tentative increase in job vacancies created when an employee creates a vacancy from swapping to another employer - even though it’s unusual at this time of year to see that kind of movement accelerate.”

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