Morgan McKinley has released its London Employment Monitor for March 2008 and has said that the number of new job opportunities in the City fell by 2 per cent compared to February 2008, and fell 23 per cent compared with March 2007.

The report said that candidate inflow fell 3 per cent on February 2008 but was up 4 per cent on March of the previous year. In addition to this the average time it took for an individual to secure a new role rose by 10.7 days to 60.4 days in comparison with March of last year.

City salaries however have not changed much, with the average salary for a City worker at £49,765, down 0.7 per cent on last month and down 0.6 per cent on the same time last year. In addition the report said people could still gain an average of a 20 per cent increase to their basic salary by moving roles.

Robert Thesiger, CEO of Morgan McKinley's parent company, Imprint Plc, said, The slower pace of new job opportunities coming on to the market in January and February has continued throughout March. These figures show that recruitment within financial services in London has entered into a new phase of its cycle. Job volumes are lower, candidate supply has exceeded demand for the third consecutive month this year and the time it takes for individuals to secure a new job has increased by an average of 26%.

I think most would agree that the remainder of 2008 will be tough for both the financial services industry and financial services recruitment. It is clear from the announcements of banks' Q1 results that while some performed better than expected, a number of bulge bracket firms have still had to deal with significant losses. Confidence is of paramount importance within any economy, but particularly in the micro-economy of the City, and until there is a significant increase on existing levels, financial services and within that, the recruitment environment will remain challenging.

Theisger did hold out some hope however, Having said that, the financial services landscape is far more diverse than it was several years ago and while some of the larger organisations may have slowed their hiring in certain areas, smaller financial institutions are pushing forward with their expansion plans. Increased levels of recruitment within these areas, has partly offset the slowdown elsewhere.