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9 out of 10 senior City workers now willing to move abroad

Astbury Marsden says that regulatory pressure to reduce bankers’ bonuses and to increase regulatory capital (which reduces investment banking profits) has impacted on London’s attractiveness to bankers.

Astbury Marsden says that the EU bonus cap, which restricts banks from paying employees more than one year’s salary as a bonus, means that earning potential for some senior staff can be much higher in other financial centres, such as New York and Singapore, than in London.

Astbury Marsden adds that while many believe that top bankers will be unwilling to leave London due to its perceived prestige, these figures show that concerns over pay restrictions placed on banks by regulators may be a much bigger factor than previously thought.

Adam Jackson, associate director at Astbury Marsden, says, “Highly skilled workers are now more internationally mobile than ever before and that needs to be taken into account by policymakers.

“Competing financial centres like New York, Singapore and Hong Kong are free from restrictions on bonuses, giving them an advantage in attracting top talent in the financial services sector.

“There is a risk of complacency over London’s ability to attract and retain the very best in investment banking. Traditionally London has been the location with the most pull for a lot of the best and brightest in the sector, but sharp curbs on bonuses already seem to be prompting more of the City’s top-level workers to consider London’s big rivals.

“The issues of taxes might also factor into their decision-making – London doesn’t always fare well in comparison with some other major financial centres. It’s fairly common for institutions in the City to have to offer the most talented staff significant relocation packages to attract them here.”

However, the willingness of senior staff to move overseas contrasts sharply with the attitudes of more junior City workers. At analyst and associate level, only 64% and 54% respectively are willing to move to new roles overseas.

Jackson adds, “It’s quite worrying that the willingness to leave is much higher among the most qualified and experienced staff in the City. There is never likely to be a shortage of bright young candidates keen to work in London, but retaining experienced staff with the longest track record of success is much more challenging.”

45% of City workers can now work from home

Astbury Marsden’s research has also found that 45% of City workers now have the opportunity to work from home, with more senior staff the primary beneficiaries.

Astbury Marsden says that 56% of City staff in their 40s have the opportunity to work from home regularly, compared with 39% of staff in their 20s and 30s.

Jackson comments, “Working from home, though usually on a limited basis, has become much more common in the City in recent years. It’s the more senior staff who seem to be benefitting first, however, which appears to be partly driven by them being trusted to handle the responsibility more than junior staff.”

* Data from Astbury Marsden’s annual Mobility and Flexible Working report, with over 1,200 mid and senior-level City worker respondents


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