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There are 79% fewer banking jobs in London since Brexit

Brexit was a crossroads moment for the financial services industry in London (and Britain generally), but some of the loudest lamentations about its impact might be heard from the London banking community.

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In the years since the Brexit referendum in 2016, recruitment firm Morgan McKinley estimates that newly open banking jobs in London fell from a peak of 108,000 in 2015 to just 23,000 last year.  As the chart below shows, there was a bounce in 2022, but it didn't last. 

Morgan McKinley's figures are based on an extrapolation from its own jobs data. What went wrong in 2023? The recruitment firm cites 'high interest rates, inflation, shortage of workers and uncertainty around the world following the post-pandemic boom and geopolitical conflicts.' There was no respite in the fourth quarter, which it says constituted the end to a challenging year as tension in the Middle East perpetuated hiring freezes and rounds of redundancies. 

Will London banking jobs ever return to pre-Brexit highs? Certainly not in 2024. Citi is on the cusp of a new round of redundancies and Barclays may yet cut too. 2024 is unlikely to be a big hiring year and most banks now have EU outposts in Paris, and to a lesser extent, Frankfurt.

As banking jobs dwindled in London last year, changing jobs became less lucrative. As managers focused on cost-cutting, Morgan McKinley said the average “salary change” for a finance professional moving company was 16% last year, down from 22% in 2022. 

The only good news for anyone wanting a new banking job in London last year, was that competition fell. Morgan McKinley estimates that jobseekers went from 94k in 2022 to 79k in 2023. That’s still three jobseekers to every job, but it could probably be worse. 

 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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