London jobs back at pre-recession levels as the City grows

 

London’s workforce is now greater than before the height of the 2008-9 recession, with the number of jobs across the City growing at a record rate in 2012, new figures have shown.

Despite a raft of recent banking cuts, the recovery is expected to have been driven by a 3.2 per cent, year-on-year growth in City of London jobs to 397,900. The number of people working in professional services such as City law firms and accountants have risen by 7.2 per cent to 99,200, with financial services roles climbing 1.8 per cent to 158,600.

The total number of people in jobs across Greater London is forecast to have grown by 2.6 per cent to 5,032,200 this year, according to the City of London Corporation and Oxford Economics. This beats the 4,973,000 declared in December 2008, before the recession started to hit the jobs market.

Mark Boleat, policy chairman at the City of London, said: “The City is clearly undergoing a readjustment as certain high-profile parts of the industry adapt to a challenging economic environment. Investment banking, in particular, is facing up to a new regulatory landscape.

“But even as parts of the financial services industry downscale,  others — including insurance and fund management — are expanding.  And London’s position as a world leading provider of professional services will continue to fuel growth in these activities.”

The figures highlight the wealth gap between London and the rest of the country, with other parts of the UK faring considerably worse.

The City of London said revised figures now showed that London’s output — as measured by gross value added — grew by 2.2 per cent in 2011, meaning London’s recovery from the financial crisis was three times stronger than that of the UK as a whole.

Despite the upbeat forecasts, GVA is expected to have fallen to 0.2 per cent this year with the global economic downturn taking its toll. This will feed through to London’s overall jobs market next year, which is expected to be flat in 2013.

Boleat said the figures showed the importance London’s financial services sector would continue to play in the UK economy.

In recent months, fears have grown across the industry that thousands more jobs will be lost with banks such as UBS preparing to cut roles worldwide. The Zurich-based bank plans to reduce its headcount from 64,000 to 54,000 by 2015, with some 75% of the losses made outside Switzerland.

“London’s position as a world leading financial centre is important not for its own sake but because of the contribution it makes to Britain’s economy,” Boleat added.

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