Financial jobs market is still in expansion

Marion Dakers
A HIRING surge in legal and professional services firms has helped buoy the overall headcount in London’s financial sector in the first half of the year, according to a survey out today.

London’s financial and professional services industry has gained 2,700 roles, or 0.4 per cent, during the first six months of the year.

It now employs approximately 666,400 people, suggests a survey by TheCityUK, a group representing the financial services industry.

While expansion has slowed since last year, when the number of jobs in the sector grew 3.8 per cent, the figures point in a broadly positive direction despite months of renewed economic turbulence.

Law firms have added 3,800 staff since January, and now employ 118,700 people in London, the survey claims. Headcount in the capital’s legal services sector has now risen above 2007 levels, following three years of decline until 2011.

Accounting and management consultancies have gained 800 staff to take their total across the capital to 191,600.

These gains have managed to more than offset declines in banking and insurance jobs.

“It’s great to see that employment in the financial and professional services sector in London has continued to increase in the first six months of 2012, and we are forecasting a 0.5 per cent increase for the full year,” said Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK.

The positive trend masks a gloomier half-year in London’s insurers, where 1,700 jobs have disappeared to take the sector’s total to 70,700, and banks, which lost a net 2,300 positions to hit 143,800.

But both these sectors still employ more staff than before the advent of the financial crisis in 2007, TheCityUK and ONS figures suggest.

Fund managers are also suffering this year, with total headcount falling by a net 0.8 per cent, or 200 jobs, to 22,000.

London’s jobs market has shrunk by 3.7 per cent since the start of the crisis in 2007.