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Is now the best time to look for a finance job in London? Maybe so

City of London at night.

Brexit boredom is the new thing in banking recruitment. Robert Walters says that financial services firms are tired of waiting around for clarity on relocations and are hiring anyway. Now, Morgan Mckinley says that banks are back in expansion mode in London – even if they are shifting jobs to the EU.

According to its latest London employment monitor, there’s rarely been a better time to apply for a job. There were 8,125 vacancies in March and just 9,695 applicants – in other words, 1.2 candidates per job on average. At the same point in 2016, there were 1.8 people chasing every role. But, predictably, the stats don’t paint an entirely accurate picture of the reality. Hakan Enver, operations director at Morgan McKinley Financial Services, suggests that banks are tired of waiting and want to get on with “the business of hiring talent”.

And yet, Morgan Mckinley suggests that bulk of recruitment is in the unexciting world of “regulatory finance”, risk management and also fintech, which means everything from small start-ups trying to carve out a niche to big banks battling for the best developers and quants. Robert Walters, meanwhile, suggests that “compliance, cyber-security, change management, and investment management” are all busy.

In the front office, everyone is staying put, even after disappointing bonuses. This is the main problem with the job market. In sectors like leveraged finance and the junior ranks of M&A, where exits are happening, banks are having to replace hires. But it’s unusually quiet right now, and was only last month that Morgan Mckinley said big banks had frozen hiring as they wait on Brexit plans to be firmed up.

Our own stats suggest that applications have shifted towards sectors which are suffering the most or those that remain aspirational. Hedge funds have been shutting at record rates, or laying people off, so roles in this sector are the most contested.

Trading (admittedly a generic term) remains a tough place to work, with cuts shifting from fixed income currencies and commodities towards cash equities and equities derivatives. Then there’s research, where headcount has been decimated as investment banks struggle to deal with the ‘unbundling’ demands of MiFID IIIn June last year, research didn’t even feature in the top 15 sectors for applications – now it’s up to fourth.

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Photo: Getty Images

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