Finance jobs in London remained resilient in 2020 despite the ‘triple threat’ of Brexit, COVID-19 and US elections

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The survey also showed a 1% quarter-over-quarter increase in job seekers, while the year-over-year numbers were down 31%, due to COVID-19. Photo: Getty

The capital’s financial services have gone through a difficult 2020, which has seen the city’s jobs remain resilient despite a ‘triple threat’ of COVID-19, Brexit and the presidential election in the United States, which are expected to bear a blow to the sector.

According to Morgan McKinley’s Quarterly London Employment Monitor, the fourth quarter ended with a slight 2% drop in jobs in financial services.

This was in stark contrast to the start of 2020, when overall numbers for the year plunged 49% from 2019.

The survey also showed a 1% quarter-over-quarter increase in job seekers, while the year-over-year numbers were down 31%, due to COVID-19.

While the feeling of many companies was to continue recruiting talent into their organization, the salaries of new employees have declined slightly to compensate for the current environment.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the average change in the wages of people moving from one job to another increased by 14%.

As flexibility increases and working from home becomes the norm, it is possible that wages on average may decline due to aspects such as reduced commuting.

“Brexit alone would have been difficult enough” but the City had to “deal with the disruption of the global pandemic and the potential upheaval of the change in leadership in the United States,” said Hakan Enver, managing director of Morgan McKinley UK.

Financial services jobs new to the market quarter after quarter.  Graphic: Morgan McKinley

Financial services jobs new to the market quarter after quarter. Graphic: Morgan McKinley

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Enver added that despite the mountain of woes, “The fourth quarter ended with a slight 2% drop in employment, which continued to counter the massive 60% drop in the second quarter. This shows real resilience and stability in stark contrast to the start of the year, when the overall figures for 2020 dropped significantly compared to 2019. ”

Speaking on the city’s business response to the coronavirus pandemic, he said banks and financial services companies are doing well by “adapting quickly” and meeting the needs of their staff and by implementing remote work, which “has ensured companies can keep their business as usual.” “

“Many employers focus on hiring when it’s necessary and feasible. We have seen growth in IT, marketing and digital roles, while auditors outside of the Big 4 have also been in demand, ”he said.

According to Enver, fewer people were looking for jobs, “due to a lack of face-to-face meetings, the leave program being in place and job seekers feeling that they wanted the year to end and the search restarted. job in the new year “.

But he pointed to a “renewed optimism in 2021” and said the employment figures “were steadily moving in the right direction”.

Professional job seekers new to the market quarter after quarter: Q1 2017 - Q4 2020. Chart: Morgan McKinley

Professional job seekers new to the market quarter after quarter: Q1 2017 – Q4 2020. Chart: Morgan McKinley

There is “a long way to go on the EU deal” for financial services, Enver noted.

“British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has granted the EU access to UK markets, despite a lack of reciprocity on the part of Brussels. It’s too early to say whether a future deal will help financial services, but it offers certainty and an opportunity to make up lost ground. “

The managing director said companies “are now looking for new, fast-growing business options” where London is already globally competitive, which they can “add”. This includes “forex and derivatives or maybe become a sustainable finance center and fintech hub”.

LOOK: 10 ways to protect your finances from Brexit


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