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Financial services job vacancies in Scotland recover from last years independence scare

According to BrightPool, in the last six months, financial services vacancies in Glasgow and Edinburgh increased 21% to 3,070 at the start of May, up from 2,530 in September 2014.

Across the UK as a whole, financial services job vacancies remained fairly static at around 46,000, compared to just over 45,000 at the time of last year’s referendum.

The recent jump in financial services jobs in Scotland even outstripped the recovery of the sector in London, which saw financial services vacancies rise 8.5% from 19,010 to 20,630 over the same period.

However, Angela Hickmore, managing director of BrightPool warns that sentiment amongst financial services employers in Scotland may weaken if there is renewed pressure for independence.

BrightPool explains that financial services job vacancies fell 19% in Glasgow and Edinburgh ahead of last year’s referendum as some major employers in the financial services sectors considered relocating their head offices south of the border in the event of a vote for independence.

Angela Hickmore, Managing Director, BrightPool, comments, “Recruitment activity in Scotland’s financial services sector had rebounded sharply after the industry put hiring on pause until the referendum was out of the way.”

“Glasgow and Edinburgh are two of the UKs great financial services centres with significant reserves of sector expertise so it would be a shame to see political uncertainty slow recruitment there.”

BrightPool says that firms which are already based in Scotland are feeling more confident about hiring to increase capacity, and adds that more financial services providers are also deciding to locate there. It explains that the attractions include:

&middot         Its long-established and respected heritage in the industry,

&middot         Its highly educated and skilled workforce, and

&middot         Its lower cost base – for example lower costs of office space as well as lower wages

Rise of challenger banks one of key drivers

BrightPool says that the increase in recruitment in Scotland has been partly driven by challenger banks choosing attracted by the large pool of skilled financial services employees and lower staff costs than London.

Angela Hickmore explains, “Both challenger banks and the big established FS employers are looking to keep cost-to-income ratios under control. Avoiding the high average salaries and rents of the City of London or the Docklands can mean significant savings.”

BrightPool points out that several “challenger” banks have now established operations in Scotland, alongside long-standing financial institutions such as RBS, Standard Life and Lloyds Bank.

Tesco Bank and Sainsburys Bank are headquartered in Edinburgh, as is TSB, with a new challenger bank – Hampden & Co opening offices there last year.

Shawbrook Bank is another “challenger” with operations in Glasgow. Virgin Money also has one of its five UK bank “lounges” there (designed to be a new take on traditional high street bank premises), with another in Edinburgh.

Glasgow’s International Financial Services District is home to firms such as JP Morgan, esure, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and BNP Paribas which have offices there. 


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