My experience is that the City slows down during the school holidays, even around Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands, where our head office is based. This is also the conclusion drawn by Morgan McKinley Financial Services’ operations director Hakan Enver.
“While it is disappointing to see a drop in hiring levels after the gradual rises recorded in May and June,” he says, “the seasonal effect of the holiday period cannot be underestimated. It is not unusual for hiring processes to stall somewhat during July and August and we would expect to see vacancy levels recover again in September.”
As I highlighted in last week’s article analysing the latest REC/KPMG Report on Jobs, financial IT contractors specifically, and IT contractors in general, depend heavily on the UK’s financial sector for work. This means any slow-down in hiring financial workers, and the resulting fall in activity, will impact directly on your prospects.
However, alongside the positive data from the most recent Confederation of British Industry (CBI)/PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Financial Services Survey, Enver highlights that he has seen “clear evidence of increased trading activity”. He believes that change programmes around regulatory programmes such as Basel III, Dodd Frank and EMIR will lead to more hiring over the next 18 months.
Successful implementation of regulatory programmes like these is underpinned by IT systems. So, if you have skills and experience in these areas, or can acquire it quickly over the remaining weeks of the summer, now is the time to make your move.
In fact, September is when decision makers return to their desks after the holidays, budgets are approved and projects begin. So, for those of you currently ‘on the bench’, August is a good time to update your CV and start shortlisting potential clients and agencies who you can engage with in September when City hiring, and the financial IT contract market, starts to grow again.
Keep your nerve and don’t let yourself be spooked by this latest news from Morgan McKinley, particularly when there is so much positive news elsewhere, and the employment monitor’s own author admits the blip is likely to be seasonal.