Theresa May has struck again. In May, she suggested that she might like to impose restrictions on the number people from elsewhere in the European Union who can work in the UK. At the weekend, she reiterated her idea. And this time she appears to have the backing of David Cameron – who says he was recently shocked to discover that 50% of the employees at a factory he visited weren’t Britons.
Needless to say, any restrictions on EU workers would cause ructions in the City, which is already struggling with tighter immigration rules and problems hiring non-EU graduates. Figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest that as little as 40% of front office financial services staff in London have British nationality.
We’ve looked at our own CV database to shed some light on this issue.
Based upon CVs uploaded in the UK over the past year, which state leading EU languages as the mother tongue, it appears that citizens from major EU countries don’t make up a particularly significant proportion of the City of London labour market after all. In combination, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish native-speakers only accounted for 10% of the total. Interestingly, however, there was significant variation in the number of EU bankers working in different sectors.
Surprisingly, across all sectors, there are very few Germans in the City.
Capital markets bankers in London by native tongue
19% of the capital markets bankers in the City don’t have English as their native tongue. Nearly 8% of them are French.
Derivatives bankers in London by native tongue
The highest percentage of non-British EU bankers in the City seems to sit in the derivatives market, where 19.3% of people don’t speak English as their native tongue. Once again, the French preponderate – accounting for nearly 11% of the derivatives CVs uploaded to our database over the past year. Given the importance of the French banks in equity derivatives trading and the popularity of recruits from the French Grandes Ecole, we’re surprised this isn’t higher.
Equities bankers in London by native tongue
Only 10% of people specifying equity as their primary sector spoke top EU languages as their native tongue. This isn’t entirely surprising – many banks have local distribution forces and are likely to have European salesforces on the ground in Paris, Frankfurt or Milan.
M&A bankers in London by native tongue
Only 15% of M&A bankers in London don’t have English as their native language. As ever, French are the biggest group. The fact that Germans account for less than 2% of the total is surprising here given the importance of the German M&A market.
FX bankers in London by native tongue
Finally, and surprisingly, there seem to be very few non-British FX traders in the City. Only 6.9% of the FX CVs uploaded into our UK database over the past year stated the languages below as being their owner’s native tongue.