Call for clarity

Vacancies fall as finance sector hit by Brexit ‘fog’

Glasgow IFSD

Vacancies in financial services have fallen (pic: Terry Murden)

Job vacancies in Scotland’s financial services sector have dipped amid concern that key roles are being lost because of Brexit ‘fog’ and companies moving jobs into the EU.

Over the last three months the number of new roles created in financial services is down 10.8% on the same period last year, despite a modest uptick in temporary roles being filled, according to specialist recruiter Core-Asset Consulting.

CEO Betsy Williamson, says a lack of clarity over Brexit is adding to the recruitment problem.

“From our perspective, Scotland is struggling and losing more talent and roles than needs to be the case,” she said. 

“This isn’t about politics, or the rights or wrongs of Brexit. The time for that discussion has passed – it is now about plain economics. Giving businesses certainty to plan and people the confidence to stay and benefit our society and economy.”

Edinburgh-based Core-Asset said 182 financial services jobs were created in Scotland between 1 September and 30 November, compared with 204 over the same period last year.

Ms Williamson said: “We have numerous cases right now, where we have candidates from mainland Europe that we’ve placed in roles in Edinburgh. Their roles have now been relocated, often to Ireland, or back to the mainland. 

Betsy Williamson

Betsy Williamson: ‘picture is far too foggy’

“It doesn’t bode well longer term for Scotland unless it can be addressed by policymakers. We need these jobs here – they’re highly valued well remunerated – and therefore a big contributor to the local and national economy.

“At the start of the year, our annual salary guide pinpointed Brexit as the huge overriding issue the sector needed to face and adapt to. 

“While Covid has jumped ahead in terms of urgency, the ramifications of Brexit are still playing out – and the picture is far too foggy as it stands. It’s impacting the health and prospects of a vital cog in the Scottish economy.” 

Ms Williamson’s concerns contrast with expectations that Scotland’s financial services sector is benefiting from firms relocating out of other UK locations, including London and the South East.

Almost a third (29%) of those deciding to expand to other parts of Britain chose Scotland, according to a survey by EY published in October.

A separate report published today by Royal Bank of Scotland shows that permanent job placements declined at the quickest pace for four months in November as companies suspended hiring because of tougher lockdown measures.

The report found that redundancies “reportedly drove a further robust” rise in candidate availability, although the rate of growth in the supply of permanent and temporary staff slowed from October.

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