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Does Brexit really mean fewer people are applying for jobs in London? Well...

The Brexit effect on competition for banking jobs in London

If you’re an experienced professional looking for a London banking and finance job in 2017, the Brexit referendum result has its advantages. It’s helped dissuade overseas candidates from applying.

Applications to London-based jobs from candidates in Italy, France and Germany are down 15%, 10% and 8% respectively year-to-date compared to the same period of 2016, according to figures from eFinancialCareers. Candidates based in the U.S. are not as dissuaded from applying - applications are down by just 2% over the same period.

The 2016 Brexit referendum took place on June 23rd, meaning 2016’s figures reflect pre-referendum applications while 2017’s figures show applications in the wake of the referendum. The associated decline in the value of the pound is also likely to have tempered candidates’ enthusiasm - although the c10% decline in the value of the pound against the euro since June 2016 appears to have more effect than the c12% decline in the value of the pound versus the dollar.

Brexit hasn’t put everyone off applying for jobs in London though. eFinancialCareers’ figures suggest that overseas applications from junior candidates with one to two years’ experience have actually increased since the referendum, particularly from the U.S., where the number of junior candidates applying for London jobs are up over 10% this year.

Anecdotally, European bankers at early stages of their careers still see London as the local repository of the best and most career-enhancing jobs. "London is the financial capital of Europe – and that’s still where you can get the best experience," one young French banker told us late last year. "“Moving banks’ headquarters and thousands of staff from London to other European capitals will be a long process," said another, adding that it's too soon to start avoiding the City yet.

If junior overseas candidates are keener than ever on applying to London, the same can't be said for experienced staff. With a few exceptions (France-based applicants with more than 20 years' experience and U.S.-based applicants with between 11 and 20 years' experience), applications from more senior overseas staff are down significantly on last year.

Does this make it easier to find a London finance job in 2017? Not necessarily. Most London job applications come from people already in the UK – some of whom are also EU nationals. Moreover, U.S.-based candidates make up over 50% of the overseas applicants for London banking jobs in our sample, and their enthusiasm for the City is less diminished.

Problems could arise in future though. If experienced European bankers continue to reduce their applications, banks in London may struggle to fill senior jobs requiring key native European language speakers – or to replenish experienced European talent as people return home. Then again, this might not be necessary: post-Brexit, most roles requiring an ability to converse with European clients are likely to move to European financial centres anyway.



AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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