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The best months for finding a job in banking, where to find one now

January or May look like the best months for finding a banking job

January or May look like the best months for finding a banking job

Disaster has struck the UK financial services job market. According to the latest survey by PwC and the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), 10,000 financial services jobs were culled in the country in the three months to June 2013. Worse: jobs were hammered even as financial services business confidence grew. Nothing, it seems, can stop the rot.

It’s not that bad, however. If you work in investment banking, the good news is that the PwC and CBI figures are industry-wide. They apply as much to jobs on the trading floor as to jobs in building societies, retail banks and insurance brokers. Last week alone, insurance company Direct Line alone announced it was cutting 2,000 UK call centre jobs.

10,000 banking job cuts are therefore not synonymous with 10,000 redundancies in the City of London.

This doesn’t mean the City job market is healthy. The PwC and CBI survey also found that a balance of 7% of securities trading houses reduced their employee numbers in the past three months and that, on balance, the sentiment for trading hiring over the next three months is neutral – implying that trading jobs will stay hard to come by until at least September 2013.

Where the banking jobs have been so far

Some banks have been quietly recruiting in London this year. The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register reveals that Banc of America Securities, Citibank International, J.P. Morgan Limited, Standard Chartered Bank and BNP Paribas have all added substantial numbers of registered staff since January, with Banc of America Securities alone adding 115 people.

In total, these five banks have added 358 registered people (net) in London over the past six months. This is nothing compared with the 10,000 job losses unearthed by PwC and the CBI, but the FCA register only covers employees who carry out regulated activities. The addition of 358 regulated employees is therefore likely to be matched by the addition of several hundred unregulated employees whose arrival hasn’t been recorded.

The chart below shows the net addition of FCA regulated staff, by bank, since January 2013. The greatest number of staff registrations happen in January and May, suggesting November/December and March/April might be good times to apply. With the exception of BNP Paribas, the pace of hiring dropped off in June. Traditionally, the summer months have been quiet in terms of City recruitment.

FCA registered staff

If you really want a finance job, try investment management

Fundamentally, however, looking for a new job in an investment bank today may be a misguided strategy: the big hirers now are investment and wealth managers.

While UK-based securities traders have been cutting staff and are neutral on recruitment for the next three months, the CBI and PwC found that investment managers are now more positive about hiring than at any time since June 2012.

So, which investment management firms should you send your application to? The FCA Register shows that Schroders, Gerrard Investment Management, Investec Wealth and Investment Management, JPMorgan Asset Management and ‘True Potential Wealth Management’ have been the big hirers in London in 2013. The past is not necessarily an indicator of the future, but in some cases it can act as a guide, although you may want to wait until the end of the year to apply…

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