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How to handle the City hiring freeze

4 December 2020: Writing for ICAEW’s Financial Services Faculty, Pippa Stephens outlines how to target a new position in financial services after the hiring freeze lifts.

A hiring paralysis for asset managers in the City of London comes as the pandemic tightens its grip on Britain, just as the country braces itself to potentially leave the EU on January 1 2021. 

Cities across Europe, such as Luxembourg, Paris and Frankfurt, are set to benefit from fund managers such as M&G transferring trillions of pounds worth of assets over in light of Brexit.

The City is feeling the burn. 

Recent research found employment levels in the British asset management industry were largely unchanged since 2018, while recruiters say Brexit and COVID-19 are having a major impact on hiring. 

David Hornsby, who works in Barclay Simpson’s investment management arm, says recruitment is now at 40% below pre-pandemic levels. Companies are also “mindful a level of duplication will likely be required between UK and EU teams” which they are keen to avoid, Hornsby and his colleague Ben Carter Fraser told ICAEW Insights.

Such reticence is leading to an intensely competitive industry - the number of candidates applying for jobs has increased threefold, according to one recruiter. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. 

Firms are increasingly embracing remote interviewing and hiring, and the current turmoil can be an opportunity for fund managers to hone their skills. 

The use of technology, for example how artificial intelligence could be used in research, or knowledge of data protection laws and cybersecurity with the boom in home office working are some of the areas outlined as important by advisers. 

Entry-level asset managers can also study online courses about environmental social governance, and should network like never before, another recruiter says.

You can read the full article and the expert’s advice here.