The Romanians are coming in their droves. They will be renting flats in the Docklands, buying tailored suits and going skiing in Verbier. They are here to take the jobs of the British bankers who want to work 10-hour days and take alternate weekends off. You have been warned.
This is the gist of a surprise press release from Will Davies, a former M&A banker at SocGen who’s set up a property maintenance company called aspect.co.uk. “Britain is in for a rude awakening with the flood gates now open and Bulgarians and Romanians taking not just DIY jobs but also jobs in the City of London,” warns Davies. “If we don’t roll our sleeves up and start competing they will surprise everyone and take the top jobs off us as well.”
Is Davies exaggerating? Last week, the Daily Mail reported that a mere 24 Romanians had flooded into the UK since border controls were relaxed on January 1st. Statistics from Germany suggest that immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania tend to be less qualified than immigrants from other EU countries.
However, Davies isn’t entirely incorrect. A quick check suggests there are already plenty of people with ties to Romania and Bulgaria working in the City. Take Irina Ionescu – a technology analyst at Goldman Sachs, Yoana Nenova – an investment banking analyst at UBS, or Martin Nachev – an FX support analyst at BNP Paribas.
Predictably the Romanians and Bulgarians occupying City jobs aren’t the stereotypical migrants arriving at Victoria Coach Station – they’re highly educated, multi-lingual and have typically attended universities in the US or London, or both. To that extent they’re no different to the other non-Britons who work in the City. Figures from the Office of National Statistics imply that 60% of front office bankers in London aren’t British. A few extra Bulgarians and Romanians aren’t going to make much difference.