Is everyone leaving the industry?

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The latest monthly figures from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley are out today. As ever, they make fairly depressing reading - new jobs are allegedly down 62% on a year ago, there are two new candidates (plus all those already in the market) chasing every one of them, and it now takes 78.2 days (precisely) to find a position, instead of the 47 days it took back in February 2008.

More curious, though, than all of this, is what's happening to the number of financial services professionals chasing these jobs.

According to Morgan Mck's calculations (based, apparently, on an extrapolation from the number of people registering on its own books), the number of new financial services job seekers has plummeted from a peak of around 11,800 in April 2008 to 6,750 in February.

Given new financial services jobs plummeted even more dramatically over the period, those people haven't walked into re-employment.

Instead, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest they've left the industry. Analysts and associates who are made redundant from the City are returning to their countries of origin. And as a recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out, senior rainmakers are either striking out alone, returning to academia, or going into retirement.

Where will this leave us when things recover? As we noted yesterday, there's no shortage of people who've sunk money into MSc courses and are desperate to supplement that with experience. But when the time comes will they really have the expertise required to prise the industry off its knees?

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