Square Mile celebrates a pay boost

Jasper Jolly
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The Square Mile - London's Financial District
Workers in the City experienced pick-up in the salaries (Source: Getty)

Financial services salaries were among the fastest rising of any British professionals during April as employers pay top dollar for the best talent.

Pay for financial services employees has risen by 4.8 per cent over the past year, with salaries increasing by one per cent in April alone, according to a survey of recruiters by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco).

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The pick-up in salaries in the sector has been particularly notable since the start of the year, according to John Nurthen, executive director of global research at consultancy Staffing Industry Analysts, which worked on the data with Apsco.

“Financial services firms are finding it difficult to find people and are willing to pay more for them,” he said.

Even the volatile banking sector, classified as part of financial services, saw pay packages grow by 2.2 per cent in April, reversing a downward trend which culminated in salaries falling 3.8 per cent over the whole year.

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Elsewhere in the wider financial services industry, pay in the insurance sector rose 4.1 per cent over the year, despite a dip in April.

Non-financial sectors which enjoyed big year-on-year pay rises were education (up 11.1 per cent), defence (also 11.1 per cent) and automotive (eight per cent).

Ann Swain, Apsco chief executive, said: “Competition for talent is at boiling point, especially in sectors such as IT where the focus on cyber security is fuelling demand.”

Not all professionals enjoyed bumper pay packets, however. Consultants were among Apsco’s biggest fallers, with salaries plunging 11.7 per cent over the previous 12 months, while advertising and public relations recruits have seen pay offers fall by 6.7 per cent during the year.

Official government data showed average British earnings only rose by 2.1 per cent in the year to March.

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Real wages fell as inflation reached 2.3 per cent during the same period.

According to data from HR website XpertHR, the median annual pay increases given to workers in big firms from around British industry more broadly has failed to lift off from two per cent.

XpertHR found that it is more than three years since pay awards have been worth more than two per cent.

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