The City suffered an “alarming” and “seismic” drop in hiring in December and a 30% plummet in job seekers compared to the previous year as Brexit uncertainty took hold, according to the Morgan McKinley London Employment Monitor.
Morgan McKinley said that in both 2015 and 2016, the December month-on-month decrease in jobs available was around the 30% mark, while the 2017 month-on-month decrease was 52%. Similarly, the number of jobs available is also stark when year-on-year figures are compared. Whereas in 2017, jobs to market were down 37% from December 2017 – 2016, December 2015 to December 2016 saw a 16% year-on-year increase.
“In December, the City is abuzz with holiday parties not hiring, so a drop is to be expected, but for it to be such a seismic drop is alarming,” said Hakan Enver, Operations Director, Morgan McKinley Financial Services.
On the job seeker front, McKinley says the year-on-year figures show the full impact of the 2017 Brexodus – they are down 30% as compared to a 7% decrease in 2016 and an 11% increase in 2015. “Brexit clobbered the City’s workforce in 2017. Anyone sticking it out into 2018 is in it for the long haul,” said Enver.
The report highlights one signal that the government is proactively responding to employers’ concerns: reports from the then Minister of State for Immigration & International, Brandon Lewis, that the issuance of skilled worker visas was up by 38% and that the number of tech visas had doubled.
Other reports were not so optimistic. The report mentions the BDO survey showing the UK dropping out of the top six countries for potential migrants from the EU. “On the one hand, it’s great that the UK is still being considered an attractive destination from countries outside of the EU. However, on the other hand, there are signs that European employees are becoming less captivated by the draw of working in this country” said Enver.
Meanwhile, McKinley said British businesses were impressively well positioned for a successful 2018. It cites news that Britain topped Forbes’ ranking of best country in the world to do business based on continued economic growth and record unemployment as well as technology readiness. McKinley, however, points out that, despite this, the UK economy “remains largely at the mercy of Brexit talks”.