Is recruitment in the financial sector really experiencing a high?

The latest Robert Walters City Jobs Index found that job volumes in London's financial hub rose by 31% last month compared to the same period in 2016.

With concerns raised about the impact of Brexit on the financial sector, forcing banks to consider relocating their operations outside of the UK, the report was optimistic, in that 'City' firms were continuing to show "a robust attitude towards recruitment.”

However, the European Banking Federation (EBF) has revealed that more than 9,000 European Union banks were closed last year, at the cost of around 50,000 staff.

The number of bank branches in the EU were reduced to 189,000 at the end of 2016, a 4.6% fall on the previous year. This year, British banks are expected to close a record 762 branches, Reuters reports.

The introduction of electronic payments, digital and mobile banking and low interest rates, have slashed the demand for brick-and-mortar outlets. The EBF found that staff numbers fell to the lowest level in 20 years to about 2.8million.

The EBF website put the bank closures down to challenges such as low interest rates, and profitability.

A separate report has blamed regulatory changes for a much slower growth in profits, amidst circulating rumours that City employers are poised to increase ‘in-house’ hiring. Huntswood, who recruit for compliance experts within the financial sector, particularly FTSE 100 banks and insurance companies, feel their profits have been hit by changing regulations.

The recruiter’s pre-tax profits fell 16% to £44.2million, with Hunstwood noting in their accounts that “the 2016 financial [saw] a different level of scrutiny and supervision by the regulators and, as such, we feel there has been a hiatus in the regulators’ approach.”

In contrast, a report by Robert Walters published in April, fees from banking jobs in London it had recruited for were 50% higher than in the same period in 2016. The Chief Executive, Robert Walters cited investment management and cyber security as two of the fastest growing sectors.

"It may be a trend or not, but the thing it does show is there certainly isn't a mass exodus of banks going on," he said.

What has your experience of recruitment in the financial sector been? Tell us in the comments…

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