The COVID-19 pandemic killed a tentative revival in the City of London jobs market, new data shows.
Recruiter Morgan McKinley said on Monday that the number of new listings for financial services jobs in London rose by 8% in the first three months of 2020 compared to the final three months of 2019.
Job listings surged 97% in January, after Boris Johnson’s decisive election victory spurred optimism about a resolution to Brexit. Listings continued to grow in February but sank 38% in March as the novel coronavirus brought the UK economy to a halt.
“Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” said Hakan Enver, managing director at Morgan McKinley UK. “We barely got to take a breath between Brexit and this new global crisis.
“London came back in the new year, with a renewed optimism, which was reflective in the general mood of employees and employers alike. Soon enough, business confidence fell once again, which has in turn impacted trading prospects and overall economic optimism.”
As well as a rise in new job listings, the start of the year also saw a jump in people looking to move jobs. Morgan McKinley said the number of job seekers increased by 43% in the first three months of the year.
However, the number of jobs on offer and the number of job seekers were still below where they stood at the start of 2019, reflecting a long-term decline in London finance jobs since the 2016 Brexit vote.
“Numerous banks have pledged not to cut any jobs in 2020 and employers are honouring job offers that were already made,” said Enver.
“This is a strong sign from major institutions that by working collectively, they can do their part to fend off similar dire circumstances that the UK faced after its decision to exit the EU. However, projects are being paused which is inevitably slowing hiring. Once the initial shock wears off we will see jobs begin to trickle back through.”