Thinner times for recruiters?

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Morgan McKinley's latest London Employment Monitor confirms what has been amply evident for some time: fewer banks are recruiting.

Not only did City salaries fall between August and September, but there were not quite as many jobs on the table.

That's not to say it's all doom and gloom in financial services recruitment circles. The number of new jobs still exceeded the number of new candidates - marginally. Morgan McK's calculations for the London market, which are based on extrapolations from the number of jobs coming through its own door, suggest there were 189 or so fewer jobs in September than August, but there were still around 10,270 new jobs on the table.

The reduction in salaries was also negligible at around 319 per annum, hardly enough to make bankers weep - even if they are in Morgan McKinley's traditional mid and back-office stomping ground.

The $6m dollar question is whether September's seasonal decline will be repeated in October, November and December - and more importantly in January, February, March and April, once bonuses have been paid and bankers traditionally pack their bags.

Rob Thesiger, newly appointed chief exec of Imprint Plc, Morgan McKinley's parent company, is optimistic: "...job figures continue to show a healthy uplift on the same period the previous year and job cut announcements appear to have been largely contained within areas directly related to the credit crunch."

Thesiger also points out that the Employment Monitor has no bearing on Morgan McKinley's own performance: "The Morgan McKinley index, since its inception in 2004, has always been used as a tool to give an impartial broad brush picture of the financial services market in London alone - it has never been used as a tool to give any indication of the success of Morgan McKinley as a recruitment company. Morgan McKinley's financial services business in London remains in rude health."

Imprint failing to make a mark

Thesiger's ebullience comes despite problems at Imprint, Morgan McKinley's broadly-based parent company, which has seen its share price plummet in recent weeks and is now thought to be a takeover target, partly due to disappointing September trading.

Ian Jermin, an analyst covering Imprint at Landesbanki, was quoted in the Financial Times last week, saying: "Imprint has a high exposure to financial services and will suffer from an inevitable moderation of demand following the summer credit squeeze, despite its focus on back-office staff."

The FT says financial services accounts for around 50% of revenues at Imprint.

One former senior Morgan McKinley insider says the problems have more to do with strategy than the recruitment market: "Imprint has a collection of businesses with no real strategic view of how they sit together. They rose very fast, and are falling very fast."

Our original article, published yesterday, contained a number of factual inaccuracies. We would like to apologise to Morgan McKinley for this.

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