London finance job openings tumbled 54% this year on Covid and Brexit concerns

City job opportunities slumped by 54% during the third quarter compared to the previous year, as the Covid-19 pandemic and Britain’s looming exit from the European Union weighed in financial services firms’ appetite to hire.

There were 3,810 vacancies in the financial services sector in the third quarter, according to figures released on 19 October by recruiters Morgan McKinley. This is a 54% slide on the previous quarter, as investment banks and fund managers have largely battened the hatches amid the pandemic.

“Businesses and job seekers are struggling with the impact of the pandemic and worried about what a second wave will mean, but we also can’t forget about Brexit,” said Hakan Enver, managing director at Morgan McKinley UK in a statement. “With the 31 December date looming, there are concerns for long-term recovery and the free flow of capital and equivalence for UK financial services that needs to be clarified.”

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While job numbers have slumped from the 8,291 vacancies available in the third quarter of 2019, the situation has improved over the past three months. Financial services job numbers increased by 53% on the second quarter over the summer, something Enver described as “renewed optimism and hope as the UK settled into a new way of life”.

However, investment banks have been unveiling job cuts after resisting making redundancies during the height of the pandemic. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup said they were both cutting around 1% of their headcount after a pause throughout the crisis, while both Deutsche Bank and HSBC have resumed plans to overhaul their businesses, which will result in tens of thousands of job losses.

Enver added that work from home arrangements that forced thousands of City workers away from the office at the height of the crisis in the UK could be here to stay:

“Businesses have no plans to roll back remote working, with many firms even suggesting on a permanent basis, therefore, offering home-working as part of their compensation packages,” he said.

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