London Finance Vacancies Slip as Firms Hold Off Hiring New Staff

Job vacancies at London’s financial-services companies slipped last month as securities firms held off from seeking new employees, offsetting more robust hiring at asset managers, recruitment firm Astbury Marsden said.

New vacancies in the U.K. capital’s City and Canary Wharf financial districts fell 2 percent to 2,335 in October from 2,380 in September, the London-based recruiter said in a statement today. The figure was also 12 percent lower than the 2,640 new vacancies in October 2012.

“The financial performance of the big investment banks is still not robust enough for them to initiate the levels of hiring that you normally associate with new stock market highs,” Mark Cameron, Astbury Marsden’s chief operating officer, said in the statement. “Banks have been badly burnt in the past hiring on a short-term bounce in business volumes and then having to go through costly layoffs, so many are being prudent and putting off bigger hiring decisions.”

Investment-bank hiring is lagging behind a recovery in the rest of the U.K. job market, which saw unemployment unexpectedly decline in the quarter through July. Barclays Plc last week posted a 26 percent drop in third-quarter pretax profit, hurt by a slump in trading revenue at the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest lender, reported a 94 percent drop in third-quarter earnings last week, while UBS AG postponed a profitability goal.

“Outside of the investment banks, the picture looks rosier with a pick-up in hiring activity in the asset-management sector, which is partly driven by the buoyant stock market increasing funds under management,” Cameron said.

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