According to Morgan McKinley’s London Employment Monitor, the jobs market was under stress in February, with a 23% decrease in jobs available month-on-month. Vacancies were also down 17% year-on-year.
With Article 50 set to be triggered in the coming weeks, the recruitment website said that many large companies have found it was “easier to get ahead of the worst case scenario now” and leave London.
“The data suggests that Brexit has had a fundamental depressing effect on City jobs," said Hakan Enver, operations director at Morgan McKinley’s financial services.
“We’ve already witnessed, what was a handful of jobs leaving, become hundreds. How long before we’re looking at losing thousands, even millions?”
The report also found that the percentage of professionals looking for jobs in London declined 12% in February from January and 38% compared to the same time last year.
Ember said that London is still home to the best financial services talent, but warned that, if the jobs go, so will people.
“And when they leave, it will devastate the financial services infrastructure, costing British citizens jobs, too,” he said.
The report also warned that many US banks have located themselves in the UK for the broader EU market, so they would have no incentive to stay if that access was to be cut off.
The director added, “The government knows what’s on the line, but they’re still choosing to send mixed messages about passporting, trade, euro clearing, and the right of EU nationals to live and work across the UK, not just here in London.
“It may well be a negotiating tactic, but it’s one that’s having very real consequences for people’s lives and for our economy.”
On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that wage growth fell for the first time in two years in January.
The ONS said that real pay rose by to 2.3% in the quarter ended in January, which was lower than the 2.6% growth seen in the previous quarter.
However, unemployment continued to fall to 4.7%, the lowest since 1975, and there were 315,000 more people in work than one year earlier.