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London financial vacancies jump 40% from pre-pandemic level

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: A general view is seen of the London skyline from Canary Wharf in London

By Joice Alves

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of financial job vacancies in London surged beyond pre-pandemic levels in late 2021, in a sign recruitment in the sector has fully recovered from the COVID-19 crisis, data showed on Monday.

The latest Morgan McKinley winter recruitment monitor, which details hiring trends across London's financial industry, showed 40% more financial sevice jobs available in the fourth quarter of 2021 than in the same period of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy and put the job market on hold.

Last year, more than 32,000 jobs in finance were created in London, around twice as many as in 2020, supported by a spike in the second quarter as Britain's vaccine programme allowed more people to return to the office.

"In broad terms, the job numbers continued to reflect an encouraging recovery from the impact of Brexit, furlough scheme, pandemic, and lockdowns," said Hakan Enver, managing director at Morgan McKinley. He added that growing fintech investments in London lent a hand.

Half of the financial service sector's economic output in Britain is generated in London. The sector contributed nearly a tenth to total output in Britain in 2020, according to government's figures in December.

Britain's economy grew strongly in November to surpass its size in February 2020, just before the country's first COVID-19 lockdown, official data showed on Friday.

As the cost of the pandemic becomes clearer and Britain faces higher taxes and inflation, "we may begin to see a movement of jobs back out of the UK," Enver said.

But for now, the financial recruitment market in London remains strong.

London's biggest publicly listed recruiter Hays Plc said on Thursday employers were having to offer more flexible working and competitive pay amid a war for talent.

While the overall UK labour market remained tight in 2021 as many employers struggled to find staff, London saw 34% more people looking for a new job in financial services compared to 2019, Morgan McKinley said.

(Reporting by Joice Alves Editing by Saikat Chatterjee and Mark Potter)

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