TheCityUK’s London Employment Survey, released today, reveals that jobs in the capital’s financial and related professional services industry have reached an all-time high – 729,600 as at June 2015.
The 2.2% hike in the first half of the year (H1) has been largely driven by strong growth (3.8%) in the professional services sector. TheCityUK expects this upward trend to continue to the end of 2015, forecasting an additional 7,300 jobs across the industry in H2 and a full-year rise in employment of 3.2%.
During H1, accounting and management consultancy saw the biggest increase in jobs, up 4.7% to 260,500, followed by strong growth in fund management (up 4.3% to 31,200) and insurance (up 2.1% to 81,700). The financial services sector as a whole saw a marginal increase in employment of less than 1%, with banking jobs falling slightly by 0.3% to 143,600. More than one in three (37%) respondents noted a year-on-year increase in full-time hires.
According to the Survey, while the majority of firms are optimistic about growth prospects, they cited emerging market volatility (39%) and economic weakness in the Eurozone (34%) as the two most pressing issues impacting their hiring decisions over the next six months. Nearly six in ten (57%) respondents also indicated that they are seeing a shortage of skilled staff, in particular in areas such as compliance and risk management.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said,
London is the leading international financial centre and the industry is a major contributor to the national economy – attracting more foreign direct investment and contributing more tax (£66bn in 2013/2014) than any other industry in the UK. Its continued growth is a positive indicator about the health of the broader economy.
Being able to attract and retain the best talent is fundamental to the industry’s ongoing competitiveness – we want to send a clear message that the UK is ‘open-for-business’ and an attractive place to do business. Issues such as caps on migration of international skilled workers should be fully considered for their potential impact on this.
A strong financial and related professional services industry and a strong economy go hand-in-hand and we urge policymakers to create a supportive environment to ensure London and the UK remains a competitive and attractive place from which and within which to do business.
Outside of London, jobs in the financial and related professional services industry across the UK also increased over H1, rising 2.1% to 2.2 million – climbing for the first time above the previous peak set just before 2007. TheCityUK also expects these figures to increase to the end of 2015, forecasting a 0.8% growth in employment, amounting to nearly 18,000 jobs.