The London job market in April

May 11, 2017 | Data Based, Market Insights

Professional vacancy levels in London have displayed a significant degree of volatility in recent months. Q1 2017 had the highest amount of activity of the last eight quarters and March 2017 was the best month in the last 24 months. However, excluding December 2015 and December 2016, which both suffered from the traditional holiday-related drop-offs in activity, April 2017 was the worst single month in the data in terms of number of vacancies. The month saw 8.9% fewer vacancies in London than April 2016, and 23.7% fewer vacancies than March 2017, which was the largest fall in the 24-month period under review. This fall was not specific to London: vacancies in England & Wales overall fell by 22.2% between March and April.

In the Greater London region the fastest growing industries 12-month period on 12-month period were Energy and Basic Materials. Other industries experienced stagnation or falls in demand, most significantly in Healthcare, which saw 19.6% fewer openings between the twelve-month periods. Drilling down to the sector level, the busiest ones included Biotechnology (up 32% 12-month period on 12-month period), Fintech (up 24.1%), Insurance (up 14.3%) and Biotechnology. Falls in demand were seen in Law (down by 18%), Pharmaceuticals (down 15.9%) and Banking (down 7%). The fastest-growing specialisms in London included Insurance-specific roles (up 25.2% 12-month period on 12-month period), as well as openings in Sales (6.3%) and Marketing (5.8%), while the number of vacancies was down in areas such as IT (down 1.5%), HR (down 3.3%) and Accounting (down 9%).

While the April bank holiday could have been a factor in this drop, it seems that such behaviour may be expected given this market’s current volatility. Other developments that might affect future vacancy levels in London may include key players in Financial Services confirming intended staff relocations to the continent, and the recent crystallisation of Brexit negotiation plans. London businesses expressed concern about Brexit affecting their importance as “the engine of the UK economy”, with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry recommending, inter alia, that the authorities allow current EU workers to stay on in their positions. Meeting the needs of a growing population, set to surpass 10 million by 2030, and a shaky real estate market is yet another challenge London must face to retain its key position in the UK, Europe and the world.

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Author: Jan Pawlowski
Data Analyst


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