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London banking jobs have fallen 80% in seven years

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Banks might have signaled some willingness to restart hiring in 2024, but that doesn’t mean that Canary Wharf and the City of London are awash with jobs.

Recruitment consultant Morgan McKinley’s quarterly London employment monitor suggests that for all the nice words and intentions hiring in London is still a lot lower than in the past. 

London’s new job openings might not be *quite* as low as they were in the midst of the pandemic, but Morgan McKinley’s figures suggest they were nearly 80% lower in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same quarter of 2017. They were also down a third compared to Q1 last year.

The malaise is driven by what Morgan McKinley’s COO, David Leithead, called “continued global economic unease”. 

Leithead is not without optimism. He pointed to the medium term outlook for M&A and underwriting being “quite positive” and said he expected “things to improve at some point perhaps in Q3 or Q4.” Morgan Stanley CEO Ted Pick has said something similar, referring to the “pot pourri” of deals returning, and claiming that the bank will “opportunistically” add talent as the scent diffuses.

Leithead suggested banks have become more erratic at recruitment than ever. They are “better at this talent acquisition ebb and flow than ever before,” he observed. 

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