"The referendum is at the end of Q2, so any pickup in jobs activity will be dependent on the polls ahead of the referendum. If it’s very close, we might have to wait for Q3 before hiring gets going again. However, it is quite precarious out there”
When all the negatives came together
In a month that brought with it poor macro figures, news of redundancies and a terrorist attack, it is not surprising that numbers were down quarter-on-quarter for both available jobs and job seekers. The number of available jobs decreased from 8,325 in February to 7,215 in March for a decrease of 21%. Job seekers, who were passive in February, now withdrew from the market, with a decrease of 25% from 17,219 in February to 12,998 in March.
“All the negative news came together in March giving us a rather morose end to the quarter,” said Hakan Enver, Operations Director, Morgan McKinley Financial Services. “Reports of a slowing economy, redundancies, the Brexit referendum approaching and then the horrific terrorist attacks in Belgium, it’s little wonder that the figures are showing a decrease. With all this in mind, I’m surprised they held up so well.”
In January, the markets dipped with a historically poor start to the year, the resulting atmosphere has been watchful and nervous throughout Q1.
“Companies are saying that the quarter 2 (Q2) will be better,” said Enver. “The referendum is at the end of Q2, so any pickup in jobs activity will be dependent on the polls ahead of the referendum. If it’s very close, we might have to wait for Q3 before hiring gets going again. However, it is quite precarious out there”
Bonus rounds came to a close in Q1, normally this is the time when job seekers will start looking for new opportunities, but this year they are staying put. “The news about lower growth, lower M&A activity and reduced profits in Q1 is feeding into a general atmosphere of nervousness and job seekers’ desire to look for new opportunities,” said Enver.
The only anomaly in the figures was the increase year-on-year in candidates. “If we look at Q1 the previous year, we’re coming from a very low base. I wouldn’t read too much into this number,” says Enver.
As the June referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU approaches, the debate continues to heat up. A study conducted by PwC on behalf of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that a Brexit could cost nearly 950,000 jobs and blow a £100bn hole in economy. In GDP terms, this would mean a reduction of 5.5% for the economy and equates to an average loss of around £3,700 for every UK household.
Brexit could also have ramifications for Brits living on the continent. The concerns of British expatriates centre around healthcare and the value of their pensions. France has already indicated that if the UK were to leave the EU, Brits living in France would no longer have access to the French healthcare system. “The Brexit is definitely affecting hiring,” said Enver. “Many firms are nervous about the outcome and the possible ramifications. The natural reaction is to put a freeze on hiring and this is what many are now doing.”
On the economic front there was very little positive news as UK businesses face a perfect storm, due to uncertainty over a potential Brexit and a slowdown in China made the headlines. To add to the woes, London’s economic growth dropped to a three-year low. An index of business sentiment produced by Lloyds Bank gave a result of 52.2, only slightly above the 50 mark which indicates a growing economy.
The negative news on the job front came in the form of redundancies. The future of the British steel industry came into doubt as 40,000 steel worker jobs in the UK were put at risk, with Tata Steel announcing it would exit the UK. RBS announced that they would axe 550 jobs and replace them with “robo-advisers”. As the digitalisation of financial services progresses many “old” jobs are at threat, however, new jobs are also being created.
The road to digitalisation
In the financial services sector, disruption is a major subject as firms move from a traditional business model to an increasingly digital one. Deloitte is forecasting a fundamental shake-up of financial services, predicting that banks will become more reliant on third party providers for non-core infrastructure. However, new digital and disruptive services do not necessarily mean the end of traditional jobs. For example, instead of killing off the recruitment business as some predicted, LinkedIn has partnered up with recruiters to provide them with data to help in matching job seekers with available jobs. In fact, there appears to be no slowing down in the Fintech sector.
“Fintech firms are still hiring actively and they are able to attract top candidates,” said Enver. “Many job seekers see Fintech firms as more creative and innovative than traditional banks. Also, the younger generation of professionals are a lot more entrepreneurial than their predecessors. Fintech fits into that mindset perfectly.”
As proof of this trend for a better work-life balance, a quarter of Britons claim they would take a pay cut for fewer hours according to a study think tank, Centre for the Modern Family, funded by Scottish Widows. “Although the salaries tend to be lower than in banks, the fact that Fintech firms generally offer a better work life balance is also a big motivator,” said Enver.
The average salary for those professionals moving from one organisation to another was 22% in March 2016. Despite the volume of opportunities falling, those moving to other institutions are finding themselves securing strong increases on their basic.
Further press information:
Sharmee Mavadia or Rebecca Ly
Tel: 0207 092 0023
Notes to editors:
Monthly new jobs and new candidates
From May 2013, the London Employment Monitor now uses Morgan McKinley’s own weekly records of new permanent and temporary job vacancies and new candidates registering with the firm for employment. Statistics for the full market are derived using Morgan McKinley’s market share.
* Chart (3) illustrates the average percentage change between original salary and new salary offer for professionals securing new roles each month.
About Morgan McKinley
Morgan McKinley is a global professional services recruiter connecting specialist talent with leading employers across multiple industries and disciplines.
With offices across Ireland, the UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia, the company’s professional recruitment expertise spans banking & financial services; commerce & industry and professional services. Morgan McKinley is a preferred supplier to many of the major employers in its specialist sectors and thousands of smaller local firms.
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