By Clare Hutchison
LONDON, Feb 28 London's financial services
sector created 25 percent more jobs in February than a year ago,
new data showed on Monday, showing the industry may be
recovering from the restructuring and redundancies prompted by
the financial crisis.
After a strong January, the City hiring market showed no
signs of slowing down last month, with 3,220 new jobs created,
compared with 2,575 added in February 2013, according to
financial services recruiter Astbury Marsden.
Job creation in the past three months was 34 percent ahead
of the same period the previous year, the figures show.
The data suggests London's banks and financial services
companies are returning to growth after slashing thousands of
jobs in the face of a lengthy recession and a series of industry
scandals that followed the financial crisis.
"The confident mood is underlined by the fact that the banks
have shrugged off recent emerging market wobbles and remain
upbeat about the long-term prospects for developed economies,"
said Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden.
"The FTSE 100's recent 14 year high shows that investors'
appetite for risk has well and truly recovered."
Investment in banks' front office technology, particularly
for algorithmic trading programmes in foreign exchange, has
created demand for skilled personnel that can hone trading
systems to speed execution times, Astbury Marsden said.
"This is potentially a huge growth area for banks, and one
in which hiring could be substantial for some time," said
A strong IPO pipeline has also triggered new hires at
brokerage houses, smaller banks and other advisers.
Investment banks have been looking to add jobs in growth
areas like the Renminbi and Sukuk - instruments similar to bonds
that comply with Islamic law - markets, the recruiter said.
The UK wants to become Europe's major offshore hub for
trading China's currency, hoping it will deliver a big boost to
the financial sector and the wider economy.
It is also aiming to be the main Western centre of Islamic
finance and is planning to become the first Western country to
issue a sukuk later this year.
Separate research published on Monday also suggests the
resurgence in the financial services job market has had a
knock-on effect on salaries.
A survey by recruiter Robert Half showed that 55 percent of
chief financial officers and chief operating officers are
planning to increase existing employees' salaries, while around
three in 10 are increasing bonus payments, in an effort to keep
their top performers from moving elsewhere.
Employees are also requesting pay rises, as the number of
new opportunities has left them feeling they could earn more in
a new role, the recruiter said.
Companies have managed to put off some employees looking for
greener pastures, however, by introducing more deferred,
staggered and contingent bonuses and increasing base salaries.
Staff turnover following bonus payouts was significantly lower
after last year's bonus season than in previous years, Robert
Regulators have been pushing for more deferred awards, which
are seen as a way to prevent excessive risk-taking in order to
win bigger bonuses.
Financial services firms employ 675,600 people in London and
contributed 174 billion pounds ($291.60 billion) to the UK
economy in 2012, according to industry lobby group TheCityUK.