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Dramatic fall in financial services jobs market

City jobs down by a third in three months as job hunters fall by nearly a quarter, Morgan McKinley’s Hakan Enver surveys the latest state of the finance professionals jobs market, arguing that a tech-style visa model could benefit financial services post-Brexit.

September 2019

Morgan McKinley’s Summer London Employment Monitor details City hiring trends from April through June 2019. The second quarter of the year saw dramatic decreases across the board in terms of both jobs available and professionals seeking jobs.

Despite this, the quarter was not without some bright spots: job seekers increased in May and June by 7% and 5% respectively, month-on-month. June also saw a 3% month-on-month increase in jobs available.

London Employment Monitor Summer 2019 highlights:

  • 33% decrease in jobs available, quarter-on-quarter
  • 50% decrease in jobs available, year-on-year
  • 22% decrease in job seekers, quarter-on-quarter
  • 19% decrease in professionals seeking jobs, year-on-year

While most sectors in Britain have seen an increase in hiring despite the Brexit deadlock, the financial services sector is especially vulnerable to regulatory uncertainty and remains slow.

Major banking organisations, as well as those from the wider financial services space, have refrained from investing in talent due to the lack of clarity. Furthermore, banks have made no secret of announcing job cuts, various restructuring and moving jobs overseas, all of which contribute to the ongoing sluggishness of City hiring with countless projects and plans on hold.

If we have a no-deal Brexit, those projects and all the jobs they would have generated go from being on hold to being cancelled. Financial services is the single largest contributor to Britain’s tax base. If those jobs keep being treated like collateral damage, eventually someone else is going to have to pick up the tab for the government’s expenses.

The City always bounces back from downturns, and it is chomping at the bit to bounce back from Brexit, but the farther we go down this hole, the harder the climb back up will be.

Technology sector visas a model for post-Brexit financial services sector

Despite flattening out in the first quarter of 2019, projections for fintech’s growth in Britain remain optimistic. Experts estimate needing to fill thousands of fintech jobs in the UK in the decade ahead. As applications for visas for the technology sector grew by 45%, a record number of visas were issued to technology professionals and the government made a resounding commitment to ensure that top technology talent will be welcome in Britain.

The financial services sector benefits from any efforts to attract technology talent to the UK. But we need this type of nimble, forward looking approach to be applied to the broader financial services sector, as well.

As it stands now, the process and odds of getting a visa to work in the City are too opaque, which is pushing people to look to alternative financial services hubs, such as New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Hakan Enver is managing director of Morgan McKinley

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