MANAGING DIRECTOR, MORGAN MCKINLEY
I lost my job as a settlements clerk within an investment bank in London back in September. I’m finding it really difficult to secure a new role in London because the market is so competitive, so what are my options?
THE first thing to bear in mind is that there are still roles out there in the City. It’s a misconception that such jobs have disappeared off the face of the Earth – the strongest candidates are still getting employed here, and in the past couple of months it has picked up slightly.
Nevertheless, the key right now is to be flexible enough to work outside London as well. Over the past few years the trend has been towards off-shoring a lot of middle and back-office roles, but there has also been significant growth in the number of financial services institutions “near-shoring” too. That means moving divisions to other areas in the UK, cutting costs but still tapping into the skills of a UK workforce. We’ve seen places like Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester all taking a certain proportion of what would traditionally be City-based jobs, particularly in back and middle office divisions.
To access these jobs you have to have a flexible mindset. If it’s not going to be in London, you have to be prepared for it to be any other place in the UK, rather than aiming for one place specifically. My advice would be to spread the net by talking to recruiters with a national network, and be in touch with them constantly because these things come up very quickly and you need your ear to the ground. Make sure you’re not mis-selling yourself with your salary expectations though – you have to accept that they do vary around the UK and you’re going to be earning less than you would in London. You can offset that against a lower cost of living, and you don’t have to be resigned to earning a lot less, because there’s tremendous variation between companies.
This doesn’t exclude you from London in the long-term either. There’s nothing topping someone taking a contract job in Birmingham for a year or two and coming back when the job market is improved having enhanced your CV.
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