London Finance Vacancies Fell 49% in 2020 on Brexit, Covid Angst

Job openings in London’s finance industry almost halved in 2020 as the uncertainties of coronavirus and Brexit discouraged hiring.

City firms advertised 16,335 new roles last year, a drop of 49% on the prior year and the lowest since at least 2015, according to data from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley published Monday.

“Brexit on its own would have been hard enough,” said Hakan Enver, managing director at Morgan McKinley’s U.K. business. “However, the City had to deal with the disruption of the global pandemic and the potential upheaval of the change of leadership in the U.S.”

London Finance Vacancies Fell 49% in 2020 on Brexit, Covid Angst

The slump in vacancies came in a year marred by uncertainty over a trade deal with the European Union, which offered almost nothing for the finance sector when it arrived on Dec. 24. The coronavirus pandemic, meanwhile, kept most office workers at home for much of the year. While some banks profited from the extra volatility, several large firms in London and across Europe pressed ahead with job cuts to counteract the cost of ultra-low interest rates and technological changes.

“Organizations are now looking at new fast-growing business lines that they can add to where London is already globally competitive,” Enver said.

As employers become more flexible about remote working in the aftermath of the pandemic, “there is a possibility that salaries on average may fall to factor aspects such as less need for travel,” according to Enver.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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