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Salaries buoyant but hiring slowed by Beast from the East

London Employment Monitor March 2018 highlights:

  •     14% decrease in jobs available, month-on-month
  •     37% decrease in jobs available, year-on-year
  •     22% decrease in professionals seeking jobs, month-on-month
  •     44% decrease in professionals seeking jobs, year-on-year
  •     23% average salary change during the month

Easter delivers added blow to job figures

March saw another month of low hiring and job seeking in the City. Jobs available were down 14% month-on-month and 37% year-on-year. Job seekers were down 22% month-on-month and by 44% year-on-year.

Though the figures continue to bear the stamp of Brexit, both seasonal and weather forces were also at play. “These numbers don’t reflect the enthusiasm we’re seeing on the ground. The unexpected Beast from the East and Easter took the wind out of March’s job-market sails”, said Hakan Enver, Managing Director, Morgan McKinley Financial Services.

Salary outlook bright despite Beast from the East hiring freeze

In happy news for job seekers, average salaries increased by 23% in March. “Irrespective of the sub-sector, we’re seeing wages go up”, said Enver.

As businesses across Britain lament the shortage of skilled workers and a post-Brexit rise in staff turnover, those who are currently looking for their next professional opportunity are well positioned to receive considerably higher compensation than they would have a year ago. “A shortage in talent translates to better salary negotiating power for job seekers, making now a great time to move”, added Enver.

Brexit transition deal worries Square Mile, but offers some good news for job seekers

News of a Brexit transition deal—which has yet to be formalised—between the UK and the EU brought some long awaited clarity, but also delivered disappointing news for Britain’s financial services sector. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond went as far as to call portions of the deal“wholly inadequate for the scale and complexity of the UK-EU financial services trade”.

With its focus on ‘equivalence’ instead of ‘mutual recognition’, the deal all but ensures that the UK will face cumbersome oversight, slowing business transactions considerably. “The EU is effectively shooting itself in the foot by creating unnecessary barriers”, said Enver.

The deal wasn’t all bad news, however as European job seekers have cause for optimism with the agreement demanding that the government treat all EU citizens who move to Britain during the 21 month transition period in the same manner as it treats those who moved here pre-Brexit. “It’s not a long term solution, but it keeps the door open to top European talent and buys time to work out a post-Brexit work visa system”, said Enver.

The clarity that the deal sought to provide businesses with came too late for some: leading banks announced specific figures for how many positions they plan to relocate from London to elsewhere in Europe. “Clearly the doomsday scenario of tens of thousands leaving the City is not set to materialise, with the moves reflecting only a fraction of each institution’s London based workforce” said Enver.

New data sheds light on women in financial services

Figures for the financial services sector released in March showed a glaring gender pay gap, with women in some cases earning as little as half of their male counterparts’ salaries, and only a fraction of their bonuses. “These figures are disappointing, perhaps even more so because they are not surprising”, said Enver. “The culture and hiring practices are keeping countless people from choosing careers in financial services, and that has to change”.

Though that change appears to be slow, there are some signs of progress: a record number of women are currently serving on FTSE 100 boards, and companies are showing signs of taking diversity hiring strategies seriously. PwC is leading the pack with its Tech She Can Charter that seeks to attract more girls and women into studying technology. “These types of efforts feed directly into the fintech pipeline”, said Enver.

In the Me Too era, industries across the board are facing pressure to create work environments that are more welcoming to women, and light is being shed on outdated and discriminatory hiring practices. “We’re witnessing a reshaping of what is considered acceptable workplace behaviour. The businesses that fail to keep up with that standard will continue to struggle to recruit the best talent”, concluded Enver.