Employment in financial and related professional services in London increased by 2.2% during the first half of 2015 to reach a record high of 729,600. The London head-count is now 14.7% above the low seen in 2010.
The net headcount increase of 15,500 between January and June was largely a result of an expansion in the number of professional services jobs, which climbed by 3.8%. Financial services, on the other hand, only saw a marginal increase in employment during this period.
According to TheCityUK’s newly-expanded survey of financial and related professional services firms in London, the proportion of full time staff in these companies is higher than last year. The proportion of companies surveyed that saw a relative increase in full time staff as compared to part time staff was 37%. More than a half of surveyed companies saw no change while only 11% saw a relative decline in the proportion of full time staff.
As firms continue to think about growth after years of restructuring, TheCityUK forecasts a 1.0% rise in employment in the second half of 2015 - for a full
year increase of 3.2%. This equates to 7,300 additional jobs in the second half of the year.
While financial and professional services firms have expressed optimism about growth prospects in the upcoming months, they have also expressed concerns. Emerging-market weakness and volatility are seen as the biggest threat to continued growth in employment, with nearly 40% of the firms in the survey identifying this as a threat. This was followed by economic weakness in the euro area (34%), the prospect of higher interest rates and monetary tightening (26%), and uncertainty about the UK’s continued membership in the EU and weakening of UK’s international competitiveness (both 16%). Other factors that were cited included weak demand in the UK, cost and complexity of regulation, and planned cuts in UK public expenditure.