The UK’s continuing drive towards economic recovery has brought welcome news on the jobs front, with the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that unemployment continues to fall towards pre-2008 levels. Now a new report commissioned by the City of London Corporation has brought with it the promise of further good tidings on the back of strong demand for workers in the finance and technology sectors. According to the report, produced by Centre for Cities and Cambridge Econometrics, around 145,000 new jobs in the City of London will be created over the next ten years. Of these, 39,000 new jobs will be in London’s Square Mile, with the remainder being spread throughout other parts of the city.
It is expected that many of these new jobs will be in high-value roles, with some lower paid jobs either migrating to other parts of the UK or being replaced by automated solutions as technology advances. Even allowing for the loss of these lower paid jobs, the report projects that the number of workers in the Square Mile will rise from the present figure of 399,000 to 436,000 by 2025. By way of comparison, the corresponding figure for 2008 was 311,800. In central London as a whole, it is anticipated that the number of workers will increase from 1.88 million at present to over 2 million by 2025.
The cumulative effect of this, says the report, will be higher productivity in the city, with the gross value added by workers in the Square Mile expected to rise from its current annual level of £46 billion to £61 billion by 2025.
The report, however, also identifies several hurdles to this growing prosperity. Salient among those hurdles are: a lack of skilled employees, a lack of good quality affordable housing and uncertainty surrounding the risk that the United Kingdom may leave the European Union.
The report’s conclusions were echoed up by comments from city recruitment specialists.
Hakan Enver of Morgan McKinley expects that there will be a rising demand for statisticians, commenting that: “Firms are just beginning to understand the magnitude of what you can do with data to advance the business so they need staff who can read, monitor and extract the data, and put it to good use.”
Colin Loth, of recruitment firm Robert Walters, observed: “International investment banks will retain their primary European operations in London, while retail banks will keep a London hub, and the insurance market will not move out of London.”
Mr Loth considers that the coming decade will remain very lucrative for compliance staff and workers with a risk or legal focus. He agrees with the report’s observation that there will be a reduction in the number of back office jobs in the city as financial firms reduce their costs by moving that work to other areas of the country.
The rising demand for staff in the compliance and risk sectors is predicated on the likelihood that regulators will continue to exercise strict controls over banks in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, something that was aptly summed up by Luke Davis of recruitment firm Robert Half, who said: “What might have been one compliance officer’s job a few years ago now takes 10 or 15 specialist staff.”
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