But those who did manage to change jobs saw a large rise in pay as employers continue to compete for the top talent.
Morgan McKinley’s London employment monitor recorded 2,205 vacancies in the sector in September – down 19 per cent from August and down 43 per cent from September of last year when 3,843 jobs were on offer.
Similarly Astbury Marsden estimates 2,490 City jobs were created in September, down from the 2,925 created in August.
The recruitment firm believes banks are cutting back in response to regulatory pressure to increase capital levels, while gloomy economic conditions have also pushed firms to tighten their belts.
“One obvious way to improve short term returns is to reduce costs, and many leading investment banks have continued intensive cost cutting initiatives and redundancy programmes,” said Astbury Marsden’s Mark Cameron.
“New chief executives and senior management teams will start with a clean slate, and one of their initial priorities will be to address their cost base, which will have an inevitable impact on job numbers.”
However, he believes the recent scandals have encouraged investment banks to re-hire senior former employees to improve their images.
“They are bringing back into client facing roles those managers who are seen as trusted advisers who can bridge that credibility gap,” Cameron added.
Morgan McKinley’s study also holds out some hope for job seekers, reporting increased financial rewards for those who do find a job – those who changed positions in September saw their salaries rise by an average of £8,929, up 17 per cent on the £7,605 in the same month last year.