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Light at end of bleak brexodus tunnel

The City’s jobs market was clobbered by Brexit in 2017 but hopes remain there will be some clarity in 2018, says Hakan Enver, Operations Director, Morgan McKinley Financial Services.


February 2018

2017 will be remembered for the European escape from London. According to Morgan McKinley’s most recent London Employment Monitor, there was a 30% decrease in professionals seeking jobs, year-on-year, compared to a 7% decrease in 2016 and an 11% increase in 2015.

Brexit clobbered the City’s workforce in 2017. Anyone sticking it out into 2018 is in it for the long haul.

London Employment Monitor December 2017 highlights:

  • 52% decrease in jobs available, month-on-month
  • 37% decrease in jobs available, year-on-year
  • 40% decrease in professionals seeking jobs, month-on-month
  • 30% decrease in professionals seeking jobs, year-on-year
  • 14% average salary increase for a professional moving from another institution to another 

Christmas brought with it the standard seasonal mix of business closures, holiday absences, and bonus waiting. Nevertheless, December 2017 was markedly more depressed than previous Decembers.

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In both 2015 and 2016, the December month-on-month decrease in jobs available hovered around the 30% mark, figures that are considerably less dramatic than the 2017 month-on-month decrease of 52%. Similarly, the year-on-year decrease in jobs available dwarfs preceding years’ figures. Whereas in 2017, jobs to market were down 37% from December 2017 - 2016, December 2015 to December 2016 saw a 16% year-on-year increase.

In December, the City is abuzz with holiday parties not hiring, so a drop is to be expected, but for it to be such a seismic drop is alarming.

However, largely lost in the din of Brexodus alarm bells was a signal that the government is proactively responding to employers’ concerns: Minister of State for Immigration & International, Brandon Lewis, tweeted that the issuances of skilled worker visas was up by 38% and that the number of tech visas had doubled. It’s a victory for business that the government is prying the door to Britain back open.

2017 was the year we were told we’d have an exit strategy and a transition plan. We have neither. As new rounds of talks kick off, let’s hope 2018 brings the much needed clarity and stability everyone’s waiting for.

Hakan Enver is Financial Services Operations Director at recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley.

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