M&A boom fuels City hiring spree

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The Independent Online

Porsche showrooms and estate agents in London can look forward to another fantastic year after figures showed that employment in the City has made a strong start to 2007.

A report from Morgan McKinley, a recruitment firm specialising in banking and financial services, said that job openings that City employers were looking to fill jumped by 12.4 per cent this month, compared with January 2006. Over the same period, new candidates seeking jobs rose 17 per cent.

The increases came despite the fact that 2006 was an exceptionally buoyant year for the Square Mile, riding on the back of a record mergers and acquisitions boom.

John Hunter, chief operating officer at Morgan McKinley's parent company Imprint, said that, also powering behind the recruitment market were the healthy worldwide economic conditions and the City winning greater global market share.

He said that recruitment in M&A looked set to have another very good year, especially at "associate" and "vice president" level. Other attractive areas included credit derivatives, particularly in the product control role.

"It looks like 2007 will be as strong as 2006. We are not seeing any evidence of a reduction in demand," Mr Hunter said.

In December - usually a quiet month - the level of vacancies jumped 74 per cent over December 2005. However, new candidate numbers were down 26 per cent last month as reports of lucrative payouts for the 2006/07 bonus season meant staff put off new career opportunities until their bonuses have been secured.

Morgan McKinley said that overall, salaries were likely to remain steady in 2007 "with pockets of increases throughout the year depending on the availability of key talent".

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the City employs 335,000 - this includes those working in Canary Wharf and Mayfair in the financial services industry. It contributes 3.5 per cent of the UK's GDP.

Jonathan Said of the CEBR said that, six months ago, the think-tank was forecasting a slowdown in 2007 but it had since revised its view. He said that, given the continuing strength of the US economy and the soar-away growth in China and India, the City's bonanza "still has a way to go".

"The boom for oil producers and China's foreign exchange reserves all go to global financial markets ultimately. And London has strengthened its position as a financial centre," he said.