The number of jobs available in London fell 21% in March compared to the same time last year, according to recruitment agency Morgan McKinley.
It said that the number was now 7,215, down from 8,325 a month before.
That’s in contrast with the number of jobseekers in the capital, which increased by 44% from March last year, though there was still a drop from February 2016.
Hakan Enver, operations director for Morgan McKinley, said a series of negative news stories — including the UK’s upcoming EU referendum in June — had begun to take its toll on the job market.
“Reports of a slowing economy, redundancies, the Brexit referendum approaching and then the horrific terrorist attacks in Belgium, it’s little wonder that the figures are showing a decrease,” he said. “With all this in mind, I’m surprised they held up so well.”
The report also cited a study by accounting firm PwC which suggested that Brexit could cost the UK nearly 950,000 jobs and “blow a £100 billion hole in the economy.”
“The Brexit is definitely affecting hiring,” said Enver. “Many firms are nervous about the outcome and the possible ramifications. The natural reaction is to put a freeze on hiring and this is what many are now doing.”
The exact impact Brexit will have on the UK’s economy is still unknown, but many corporations have warned voters against it.
Last week aircraft manufacturer Airbus warned its UK employees directly that leaving the EU would have consequences on future investments.
Despite the gloomy outlook for the jobs market, the report had good news for jobseekers looking to get into the financial technology (also known as fintech) sector as banks become more reliant on third party providers for infrastructure and talent:
“Fintech firms are still hiring actively and they are able to attract top candidates,” said Enver.
“Many job seekers see fintech firms as more creative and innovative than traditional banks. Also, the younger generation of professionals are a lot more entrepreneurial than their predecessors. Fintech fits into that mindset perfectly.”
Enver added that the more flexible working hours offer end by fintech was a major attraction to new recruits.
“Although the salaries tend to be lower than in banks, the fact that fintech firms generally offer a better work life balance is also a big motivator,” he added.
This chart shows the drop in available financial jobs in London, which mirrors the overall drop in available jobs: