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Lure of international job opportunities lessens for top City staff

According to Astbury Marsden’s survey of over 1,000 City workers, the proportion of those at managing director/partner level who would consider moving abroad for work has fallen sharply in the last 12 months to 64%, down from 83% in 2014*.

While the proportion of director level staff who would consider such a move remains high, it too has dropped appreciably to 85% from 90%.

By contrast, more junior staff still remain far more open to the possibility of working overseas – nearly all (90%) of associate level staff say they would do so.

Adam Jackson, managing director of Astbury Marsden says, “The outlook for those working in the most senior positions in the City is now very different to what it was 12 months ago. Sentiment among the top tier of management about their career prospects, including their post-tax pay in Britain appears to be more robust.”

“The UK’s attractiveness as a place to live, and the City’s appeal as a place to work, have been boosted in the past year both by an evolving political landscape and by improved underlying trading conditions in equities, fixed income and in M&A work.”

“Now that the election is behind us, fears over the top-rate of income tax returning to 50p, and the spectre of the “mansion tax” – which could have been a catalyst to leave for many - have evaporated.”

“While job prospects for City workers are improving, creating a greater sense of optimism than many at senior level in the City have felt for some time.”

“However, challenges and uncertainties remain – notably the outcome of the EU referendum and the ratcheting up of regulatory requirements the City has to grapple with.”

Astbury Marsden points out that the number of new jobs in the City soared by more than 50% year-on-year in May.

Adam Jackson comments, “The City jobs market generally has been picking up at a moderate pace for some time – albeit from a low base.”

“A return of volatility in the fixed income and currency market has led to increased turnover for these product areas in banks – senior management hope that will translate into better bonuses.”

However, Astbury Marsden warns that as confidence improves, so too does the risk of staff defections by top level executives.

Jackson adds, “Although the City appears to be less at risk of key senior staff being lured away to other leading global financial hubs like Hong Kong or Singapore than it was a year ago, the possibility of losing employees to competitors remains still a very real threat.”

“EU caps on bonuses are always going to loom large in the decision-making process for those weighing up staying here versus working abroad. So the City is going to have to continue to work harder to recruit, engage and retain the best talent for some time to come if it’s to stay competitive compared to international rivals.”


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