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City jobs market hits seven year low

A wintry mix of Christmas attrition and Brexit blues make for record low job numbers, according to Morgan McKinley’s Hakan Enver.

Hakan Enver

February 2019

In 2018 we saw job numbers fall off a cliff. A lacklustre year for City jobs and job-seekers closed with a 52% decrease in jobs available, month-on-month, and a 39% decrease year-on-year.

It is common for December to see significant reductions in the wake of a shorter trading month and Christmas holidays, but not since December 2011 has the year closed with so few jobs available, making Christmas but one culprit for the disappointing downtrend.

The outlook for job-seekers was only mildly less grim, with those seeking new opportunities down by 40% month-on-month and by 29% year-on-year. We haven’t seen this few applicants to market in December since 2012.

We’ve seen January get off to a sluggish start on this front, also. After over two years of navigating the impossible task of preparing for an unknown Brexit scenario, people are fatigued.

Average salary change

The average salary change for those moving from one organisation to another fell to its second lowest level in 2018, at 15%. While you could argue a 15% increase in moving organisations is a modest increase, it is still short of the heights of the 27% we saw back in May of the same year.

I suspect this will increase as we press ahead into 2019. With Brexit on the horizon, and candidates less eager to jump ship, fixed pay may creep back up in order for companies to attract and commit talented individuals into their businesses.

For two years everyone’s been screaming from the rooftops that we need clarity about the terms of Brexit in order to succeed economically, to no avail. So now it’s time to assume the brace position and hope we survive the impact of what’s coming.

But if the world doesn’t end on 29 March 2019, then maybe we’ll finally be out of the woods and can get to worrying about something other than Brexit.

Hakan Enver is Managing Director of Morgan McKinley UK.

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