Simon English: Traders zeroing in on an exit from the City


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The Independent Online

Outlook What's the mood in the City?

Well, that's about 300,000 people who may not all think alike and who might on any given day have cause to be up or down. That said, it's possible to detect trends.

The back end of last year was dreadful for the Square Mile. Whole floors of trading desks were idle; dealers spent hours lobbing paper balls into baskets.

Since then there's been a definite pick-up. Large companies are sitting on cash piles they are at least thinking about spending; financial clients are starting to punt again, if only because they are so tired of being pessimistic.

The top brass sound markedly more hopeful than they were a few months ago.

Still, there remains a disconnect between how the executive suite is feeling and the mood of the lads on the trading floor.

Thousands of them just got zeroed – bonuses this year were non-existent for many.

They understood this was coming, but the reality of it was more painful than they expected.

If your work is solely about and for money, getting none of it is bound to make you question your lifestyle.

By quite a few accounts there's been a backlash in the Square Mile against long hours. Even pretending to be devoted to your employer is a bit unfashionable; there may be nowhere else to go for employment, but many can't hide that they just don't like their jobs anymore.

The 5pm out of Liverpool Street is fuller than it has ever been.

Some are saying: we've got to get out of this place.