London’s status as a global finance hub is coming under threat from Brexit’s demographic – rather than financial – fallout, as new data reveals falling foreign interest in City jobs, fuelling concerns of a staffing crisis.
Exclusive data analysis from the world’s largest job site Indeed shows that interest in UK banking jobs from abroad has dropped by 12% since 2015, when the likelihood of a referendum on UK membership of the EU started to grow.
Initially, interest fell most sharply among prospective candidates from Europe. Between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2018, EU jobseekers’ share of all clicks on London finance jobs fell from 7.8% to 5.9% as these citizens reacted quickly to the prospect of Brexit.
Meanwhile, overall jobseeker interest from abroad remained relatively stable, boosted by strong levels of interest from non-EU countries like Australia, India and the USA.
However, these levels have also dropped over the past year, and though interest from EU countries has halted its decline, the net result is a significant shortfall in jobseekers looking to work in London’s banking sector.
Nevertheless Britain’s banking sector remains a flagship compared to other sectors of the economy. For the average UK vacancy advertised on Indeed, 3% of interest comes from foreign-based candidates. For financial sector jobs, that proportion is more than four times higher – with 12.9% of interest coming from talent overseas.
The appeal London holds for financial workers is also truly global. While France leads the way as the country with the highest level of interest, the top ten is an even split between EU and non-EU countries.
Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed, comments: “London’s vast financial engine relies on a steady flow not just of global finance, but of global talent too. Our data suggests that warnings of Brexit interrupting that flow of people were not just idle scaremongering.
“A fall in Europeans’ interest in working in the UK might have been expected, but the fact that non-EU interest has now also declined, and is no longer offsetting the drop in EU jobseekers, could leave Britain’s financial sector exposed in the future.
“Nevertheless, finance continues to far outperform much of the economy in its ability to attract overseas workers, and the global spread of countries sending large numbers of people here provides an encouraging hedge against sharp falls in interest from any one nation.
“While the economic pain has so far been felt most acutely in the manufacturing – and especially car making – sector, this nascent threat to the UK’s financial powerhouse is just as worrying. To maintain its status as a global finance hub, London must retain not only its access to European markets but also to the very best talent, from the EU and beyond.”