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2020-04-20

UK finance job seekers increase by 43 percent in the first quarter, with coronavirus impacts on recruitment

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In the first quarter, the number of UK finance professionals seeking new jobs increased by more than 40 percent compared to the last three months of 2019, even as coronavirus forced employers to pause hiring and cut salary offers by 37 percent, as shown by data released Monday.

According to the latest Morgan McKinley London Employment Monitor, the UK financial services industry suffered a rapid slowdown in hiring in March, arresting a sharp post-election rebound in January, when there was a 97 percent increase in the number of available roles compared to the levels in December of 2019.

The number of jobs available fell by 38 per cent in March, month-on-month.

"From the frying pan and into the fire: we have barely got to take a breath between Brexit and this new global crisis," said Hakan Enver, Morgan McKinley UK's managing director.

"Thankfully, City employers are doing their utmost to enable remote work to ensure employee safety as well as continuity of business." HSBC HSBC.L, Barclays (BARC.L), Lloyds (LLOY.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) are among banks that have pledged not to cut jobs by 2020 in order to lessen the financial worries faced by employees as coronavirus pummel the global economy.

Enver said employers were also honoring job offers made prior to the outbreak in what he described as an effort by the collective industry to avert the potentially "direct circumstances" that the UK faced following its decision to leave the EU.

New projects were put on hold, however, slowing the hiring for most roles, with the exception of software engineers, IT auditors, cyber security experts, and data and analytics professionals, all of whom remain in high demand.

"Institutions continue to recruit critical business vacancies whilst simultaneously ramping up their remote team systems and practice," Enver said. "Those who work in IT and Fintech will continue to enjoy a robust job market." The average wage change for a new employee moving from one company to another also fell in March, with an average wage increase of 12%.

The rise is the lowest reported in over two years as companies adapt to the uncertain economic backdrop. The average salary change was 19 per cent in the previous 11 months.

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