Leaving the EU could be a disaster for the City of London. This is certainly the opinion of Goldman Sachs, which has long threatened to shift people out of the City in the event of Brexit, and which recently paid ex-UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg a large sum of money to make a speech in favour of the union.
Would it really be that bad though? In terms of ‘human capital’, maybe not.
Analysis of the CVs belonging to City of London-based candidates uploaded to the eFinancialCareers CV database over the past 12 months, suggests a comparatively small proportion of people in key areas of investment banks in London come from other EU nations.
We looked at CVs across investment banking/M&A, trading, sales and marketing and IT, using candidates’ native language as a proxy for nationality.
On this basis, ‘just’ 28% of staff across these sectors come from the EU. The split was as follows:
Our data suggests that the highest proportion of EU nationals in the City of London work in M&A and investment banking. Here, 35% of our CVs come from EU candidates, compared to 55% from the UK (or who are native ‘UK English language speakers) and 10% from elsewhere. By comparison, just 19% of our technology CVs are derived from candidates elsewhere in the EU.
If our figures are correct, the implication is that an exit from the European Union wouldn’t necessarily be devastating for staffing in the City of London. – All the more so because most of the staff in key sectors come from a handful of countries – France, Italy, Spain and Germany. In the event of a Brexit, who’s to say the UK couldn’t negotiate immigration agreements with these countries alone? As the chart below shows, talent from the rest of the EU would not be greatly missed.
There may be good arguments for the UK staying in the European Union, but access to EU banking talent is not necessarily one of them.