Finance jobs in London fall 54% on Covid and Brexit issues

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Job opportunities in the city declined 54% year-over-year in the third quarter as the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s impending exit from the European Union weighed financial services appetite for hiring.

According to recruiter Morgan McKinley dated Oct. 19, the financial services sector had 3,810 vacancies in the third quarter. That is a 54% decrease from the 8,291 vacancies in Q3 2019 as investment banks and fund managers largely closed hatches amid the pandemic.

“Businesses and job seekers are grappling with the effects of the pandemic and are concerned about what a second wave will mean, but we can’t forget Brexit either,” Hakan Enver, chief executive officer at Morgan McKinley UK, said in a statement.

“With the December 31st date approaching, there are concerns about long-term recovery and free flow of capital and equivalence in UK financial services that need to be addressed.”
While the number of jobs decreased from 8,291 vacancies in the third quarter of 2019, the situation has improved in the last three months. The number of jobs in financial services rose 53% in the summer compared to the second quarter of 2020. Enver described this as “renewed optimism and hope as Britain embraced a new way of life”.

However, investment banks have announced downsizing after resisting layoffs during the height of the pandemic. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup said they had cut about 1% of their workforce after a hiatus during the crisis, while both Deutsche Bank and HSBC resumed their plans to overhaul their businesses, resulting in many thousands of job losses.

Enver added that work from home, which forced thousands of city workers out of the office at the height of the UK crisis, could stay here. “Companies have no intention of withdrawing from remote working, and many companies are even suggesting permanent work, so they offer home working as part of their compensation packages,” he said.