AS THE top graph clearly shows, there have been many ups and downs in the City hiring market over the last five years. The fluctuations in financial services hiring are traditionally seasonal, with Christmas, bonus season and mid-summer being the less active periods of the year.
However, over the last five years the jobs market has been significantly affected by additional political and economic factors, some of which in isolation have had a rather dramatic knock-on effect on hiring. For example, in September 2008, after Lehman Brothers collapsed, the hiring market went from decline into “freefall”.
Looking at the picture overall, the Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor data summarises how the global and, therefore, UK economy has fared pre-credit crunch and post-credit crunch.
From February 2007 to the middle of 2008 there was clearly a very bullish jobs and candidate market, with some of the highest ever monthly job vacancies across the City. The subsequent effect of the onset of the sub-prime/credit crunch caused a steep decline in the jobs market, followed by a (relative) bounce-back from the end of 2009 into the first part of 2011.
The “spiking” of candidate numbers over the last five years reflects two things: increased job opportunities, which encourage professionals to enter the market, and conversely announcements of imposed headcount reductions by City institutions.
Coming back to more recent times, the rapid expansion of the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone can clearly be illustrated with what are now some of the lowest job volumes the City has ever seen.
With the financial services jobs market remaining relatively challenged, those looking for new roles should note that, whichever direction the market moves, often there may be two or even three consecutive months of increase or decline in job vacancies.
Relevant experience and skillsets, however, are key. Whether the shape of the graph in regard to job opportunities moves up or down, it remains true that the highest calibre professionals, with strong track records, are still in demand.
Andrew Evans is chief operating officer of Morgan McKinley Financial Services UK.