Jobs in the City of London may have been hard hit by a combination of Covid-19 and Brexit with the number of advertisements by large financial service firms in 2020 plummeting almost 50% to 16,335 jobs from 2019, according to the latest report from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley.
The survey also showed a just 1% increase in job seekers in the fourth quarter over the same period last year although year-on-year figures slumped by 31%, due to the pandemic.
“Brexit on its own would have been hard enough,” said report author, Hakan Enver. “However, the City had to deal with the disruption of the global pandemic and the potential upheaval of the change of leadership in the US.”
Salaries also dropped slightly to reflect the new environment and it is unclear what the impact will be if firms adopt a more remote working or hybrid model. Salaries on average may fall if employees do not have to be compensated for travel.
Banks and financial service firms have fared well by adapting quickly and responded to the needs of their employees and setting up remote working, which has ensured they can maintain business as usual, according to Enver.
He said that many employers are focusing on hiring when needed and feasible. “We’ve seen growth in IT, marketing, and digital roles, whilst auditors outside the big four have also been in demand,” he added.
Although large banks including HSBC and Deutsche Bank initially pressed the pause button last year when the pandemic first hit, they have since forged ahead with huge restructuring plans. In addition, banks including ABN Amro, Société Générale, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup all trimmed headcount towards the end of last year.
The uncertainty and dearth of opportunities due to Brexit and Covid-19 also led to a 31% drop in professionals looking for a new job.
However, it is not all doom and gloom and there are tentative signs of renewed optimism. This is reflected in the last three months of 2020 when the number of jobs slipped by just 2% from 2019.
“Job numbers are steadily moving in the right direction,” said Enver. “The financial sector is continuing to hire, and we are seeing a renewed optimism as we head into 2021.”