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London City Job Vacancies Fell 11% in March, Recruiter Says

Job vacancies at London’s financial- services companies fell 11 percent last month as banks delayed plans to hire, and investment bankers held on to their existing jobs, recruitment firm Astbury Marsden said.

New vacancies in the British capital’s City and Canary Wharf financial districts dropped to 3,180 in March from 3,585 in February, the recruiter said in a statement today. There were 5,900 City job vacancies in March 2011.

“Those who were hoping that an easing of the euro zone crisis would lead to a sudden, sustained and obvious recovery in the City jobs market have been wrong-footed,” said Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden in the statement. “Trading conditions may be healthier but banks have seen too many false dawns over the last few years to get carried away now.”

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest government-owned lender, is cutting 3,500 investment banking jobs in total after the sovereign debt crisis and increased regulation trimmed revenue. Britain’s economy probably fell back into recession in the first quarter, shrinking 0.4 percent following a 0.3 percent contraction in the last three months of 2011, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said last week.

Weak Confidence

“Confidence is weak, a lot of investment bankers doubt that they are going to find a new home that easily so they are prepared to live with the shock of a low, and in many instances, zero bonus for at least a few months more,” said Cameron. “They are biding their time.”

London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong trail New York as a business center in the Global Cities Index, released today by Bloomberg Rankings. Beijing and Shanghai emerged as potential rivals within 10 to 20 years, according to the index. The survey examined 66 of the world’s business commercial urban centers.

Separately, a study by the Confederation of British Industry today said banks, insurers and asset managers probably added 5,000 jobs in the first quarter, and may hire 9,000 workers in the three months to the end of June. Revenue at banks may have risen in the first quarter, while still lagging normal levels, the survey by the U.K.’s biggest business lobby group said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ambereen Choudhury in London at achoudhury@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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