Whether you believe that the big banks are bluffing over moving jobs out of the UK after Brexit or not – they’re definitely not hiring in London.
There’s been a 17% drop in available jobs in the City compared to this time last year, according to the new London employment monitor from financial services recruiters Morgan McKinley. This might not seem huge considering the looming spectre of Brexit, but at this point last year just about every investment bank was rolling out redundancies after a torrid 2015, so it's from a low base.
“Brexit has pushed institutions into two camps,” says Hakan Enver, operations director of Morgan McKinley Financial Services. “On one side we’ve got the ‘business as usual’ team, and on the other we have the institutions that are tired of the government’s hemming and hawing and have already begun to move jobs to other EU countries.”
The large investment banks are just getting on with moving jobs out of the UK, he suggests. “For many, it’s simply proving easier to get ahead of the worst case scenario and get out of London now,” he says.
The latest investment bank to speed its Brexit move up is UBS. Axel Webber, chairman of the Swiss bank, said yesterday that around 1,000 UK jobs were at risk because of Brexit, and that the two-year negotiation process for Brexit “simply would not work” for its relocation strategy.
Meanwhile, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is likely to choose Dublin as its new EU base and Japanese banks MUFC and Mizuho are heading to Amsterdam. What’s up for debate is the scale of job losses in London as a result of Brexit – while some estimates put it at 232,000, others believe banks are bluffing and will only move a few thousand. Barclays, for example, has said that just 150 of its 10,000 UK investment bank jobs were at risk.
“The data suggests that Brexit has had a fundamental depressing effect on City jobs. We’ve already witnessed, what was a handful of jobs leaving, become hundreds. How long before we’re looking at losing thousands, even millions?” said Enver.
Not surprisingly, candidates are hunkering down. There’s been a 38% drop in the number of people looking for a new finance job compared to last year, says Morgan Mckinley.
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