Square Mile jobs surge boosts pay in financial services

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Workers in the financial sector are in demand, according to recruitment company data (Source: Getty)

The number of available professional roles in the City continued its surge in October with a 14 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of roles up for grabs and a spike in Square Mile salaries.

Buoyant demand for compliance staff in the face of new regulations has been a major driver of the hunt for more staff, according to data from recruitment firm Robert Walters.

Financial services are currently adjusting to the broad-ranging Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II) as well as work on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s risk reporting requirements.

Read more: City job vacancies jumped by a third in October

In operations, the data show strong demand for middle office roles in over-the-counter transactions, those that take place outside of exchanges. Additionally, lending and asset financing have been strong hiring areas in both operations and risk.

Chris Hickey, Robert Walters chief executive for the UK, Middle East and Africa, said: “Regulatory pressure continues to be a key factor in driving recruitment among banks and financial services firms.”

Junior-level employees on the investment buy side, such as pension funds and hedge funds, are showing particularly high “candidate churn,” suggesting increased confidence in the ability to find new work, said Hickey.

The data are corroborated by the latest figures from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco), which found a nine per cent rise in vacancies currently registered in finance and banking.

The demand for staff has driven up salaries far in advance of the rest of the nation, with a 5.4 per cent rise in financial services salaries year-on-year, before bonuses are taken into account.

Read more: Wages to gain momentum in 2018 says Bank of England survey

The financial services industry is “a sector where there’s decent wage growth” with “high demand” for staff, according to John Nurthen, global research director of Staffing Industry Analysts.

The hiring environment seems “positive” at the moment, although figures may be flattered from a correction to trend after a weak period following the EU referendum last year, Nurthen added.

Separate data published today by professional social network Linkedin suggested that the number of jobs in finance grew by 22 per cent year-on-year in October, leading the way in the London labour market.

The seller’s market for City jobs is proving to be problematic for employers already struggling with skills shortages, according to Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Read more: Skills shortages are costing UK businesses £2bn a year

“Companies are doing what they always do: they’re getting on with life,” he said, but the government must act to end the doubt over the status of EU nationals, an important source of labour for London firms.

The data from Robert Walters suggests firms are increasingly turning to contractors to fill gaps, with the number of contract roles increasing by 23 per cent year-on-year.

Hickey said: “Permanent roles are still very much available but we have also seen a marked shift towards employers increasing their levels of contract recruitment.”

“Given the current climate of political and economic change, business are focusing on building adaptable, agile workforces which can respond to the changing situation.

Read more: US financial sector "nervous" about hard Brexit, claims City of London Corporation