New job openings in the City went up slightly last month but the employment picture in the Square Mile still remains gloomy, research has shown.
Some 3,000 jobs were created in the City in July, 3% higher than in June of this year, but 39% down on the same time last year, according to Astbury Marsden’s survey.
The jobs market in the sector has now stabilised after a slump, the report said, but there is only a “pretty thin” appetite to take on new employees.
Andrew Pullman, the managing director of human resources consultancy People Risk Solutions, said there was little cause for celebration in the City, despite a marginal increase in new jobs.
“I think it’s probably bobbing along the bottom. The problem is the economy is still not picking up yet as one would hope and the City tends to be a leading indicator. When business dries up the City is hit first and the rest of the country follows.
“A lot of companies and banks are looking at their core business. There is also the issue of big banks splitting retail and corporate banking from investment banking.”
The financial services sector has been rocked by the Libor rate-rigging scandal, along with a costly series of claims over payment protection insurance. Pullman believes this has caused some harm to how people perceive the City.
“It has hurt and reputationally it is a problem. I know that a number of clients we work with, for instance, have seen applications from graduates dropping.
“But more worryingly, of those who have accepted jobs, some are turning around and saying they don’t want the job any more. It is not widespread and I would not suggest it is across the board, but I have heard of instances of that happening.”
Astbury Marsden chief operating officer Mark Cameron said: “Although there has been some growth over the last month, the appetite to hire in the City remains pretty thin.
“Banks are hiring new staff, although this is more often than not to replace departing staff, as opposed to reacting to an anticipated growth in investment banking revenue.”
He added: “Banker bashing has returned to London with a vengeance, and bullish optimism, which is usually more prevalent in the City than in other sectors, is now a rare commodity.
“Politicians and commentators need to stay balanced in their contributions to the public debate about the City, as they risk jeopardising a major source of jobs.”
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