City jobs picture remains bleak

The City's job market remains mired in the doldrums, according to research published today by finance industry headhunter Astbury Martin.

The firm's monthly survey recorded 3,585 vacancies in February, a steep decline on the 5,800 a year earlier. However, Mark Cameron, chief operating officer, said there are "clear signs the jobs market is stabilising after a turbulent few months" in the latter stages of 2011.

Confidence has been helped by hopes of a deal on Greek debt and another tranche of cheap money released by the European Central Bank.

Mr Cameron said the main appetite for hiring was coming from smaller banks and more specialist City firms.

With many of them privately owned, they have more flexibility than listed firms and are under less pressure to keep costs down.