Despite recent news of dropping EU migration and a tight labour market, this June saw a surge of confidence in the City’s financial services sector.
Morgan McKinley’s June London Employment Monitor uncovered some encouraging figures for Q1, with a 29% increase in professionals seeking jobs, month-on-month; Hakan Enver, managing director, Morgan McKinley Financial Services commented: “To have a non-January jobseeker spike like this demonstrates a return of extraordinary confidence in London’s financial services jobs market.”
However, there was a more subdued 4% increase in available jobs, and the year-on-year figures for both jobseekers and new jobs were less encouraging, coming in at 35% and 29%, respectively. “No one should uncork any champagne bottles just yet. Businesses still have a lot of pressing questions about their post-Brexit future. But with talks of a deal finally ramping up, optimism is slowly beginning to return,” said Hakan.
HSBC recently announced that it aims to expand both its mortgage market share and its commercial customer base in the UK, as part of a global $17 billion expansion, while Goldman Sachs announced plans to move some staff to Paris but is as yet showing no signs of backing off its London expansion plans.
“Actions speak louder than words: when Goldman Sachs says they’re moving jobs to Paris but also creates 150 new jobs in London as well as committing to a new nine-storey site in 2019, that’s what we measure,” continued Hakan. “We’re past an either/or scenario: some staff will be needed in the EU to manage the regulatory fallout, but the investments and innovation talent will remain concentrated in London.”
Two leading schools of thought on the City’s post-Brexit future have taken root. On the one hand are those who see Europe as the most important partner for a robust financial services industry in the Square Mile. On the other are those who are optimistic about a more global reach.
“London’s financial services ecosystem more closely mirrors systems farther afield, and many are looking forward to getting out from under Brussels’ regulatory thumb”, continued Hakan. “If new visa rules were to ease hiring from Asia and the United States, it could be a boom for jobs and innovation in London.”
Few still doubt that the City will thrive, no matter what the outcome. “The regulatory climate will naturally impact how business is done. But technology and automation are as disruptive as Brexit, and businesses aren’t waiting passively to see what happens with those; they’re leading the way and creating new jobs in the process”, said Hakan.
The confidence in the future comes in part from a decade of strong performance and ability to stay compliant and nimble in the face of regulatory shifts. In addition, the government’s increasing willingness to fight on behalf of City jobs means most expect to see a good deal for business one way or the other. “After two years, patience is wearing thin, but the government is finally on the right track. They just need to pick up the pace to avoid further unnecessary damage”, concluded Hakan.