Are you looking for a new finance job in London now? If so, you're a comparatively rare breed. The latest snapshot of the state of London's banking jobs market from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley paints a picture of comparative torpor: fewer candidates, fewer jobs, more moderate increases in pay.
Of course, this could all change after tomorrow's general election. However, it's hard to see a win for either political party dramatically increasing optimism in the City of London. Although Theresa May has promised to "defend the City," her stance on Brexit and insistence that no deal is better than a bad deal doesn't bode well for banks looking for assured access to European markets post-2020. On the other hand, the Labour Party's promise to disproportionately tax the City whilst pursuing an unrealistic agenda of maintaining access to the EU single market and limiting the freedom of movement of people doesn't look promising either.
While we wait to find out who will rule Britain for the next five years and take the country out of the European Union, this is what Morgan McKinley's verdict on the London job market in May looks like.
Morgan McKinley thinks 11% fewer new financial services jobs came to the market in May 2017 than May 2016. The only good news is that the decline was less precipitous than in previous months. Hakan Enver, operations director, at Morgan McKinley Financial Services, says Brexit is less of an issue than previously: "Employers are telling us that they’re no longer factoring Brexit into their hiring decisions. They are working with what they have, not what may or may not happen in years to come.”
Morgan McKinley thinks candidate numbers have fallen even more dramatically: they're down 42% according to its estimates. Are fewer Europeans applying for jobs in London? Enver thinks people are just waiting to find out the results to the election.
The only good thing about the candidate collapse is the absence of competition for jobs. Morgan McKinley's figures suggest that on average there's no only one candidate (or 1.1 to be precise) for each new job. If you apply, you have a good chance of getting in.
With only one new candidate chasing each new job, you might think pay would be increasing as London banks try attracting scarce talent.
It is. But by less than before.
Last year, Morgan McKinley says salaries were increasing at a rate of 23%. This year, they're only increasing by 17%.
In the event that the Labour party is elected to government on Thursday, salary growth could go one of two ways: banks could either hike salaries to compensate for increased personal taxation, or squeeze pay to help cover increased corporate taxation costs.