The number of jobs in the City of London is expected to surge to a new high in 2006 after a rebound in merger and acquisition activity, a new report has suggested.
Figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimate that City employment is set to rise to 320,000 this year, an increase of some 4,000 jobs on 12 months ago, reaching 325,000 in 2006.
The prediction comes a month after a survey by recruiter Morgan McKinley found that two thirds of firms expect an increase in hiring of up to 20 per cent during 2005.
The previous peak of 324,000, during the dot come boom of 2000, was followed by a sharp drop to 305,000 in 2002 after the internet bubble burst.
"Although the stock market has been flat so far this year, activity levels in the City are improving thanks to innovation in areas such as derivatives, and a rebound in merger and acquisition work," said CEBR economist Andrij Halushka.
And he added that baring upsets in world financial markets, employment was expected to keep rising by 4,000 to 5,000 a year, to reach 339,000 in 2009.
Over the past 18 months, fund management has been adding jobs at a faster rate than any other part of the City on the back of rapid growth in hedge funds. But with these suffering recent setbacks, the CEBR predicts jobs growth of only 1.5 per cent this year, leading to 40,000 jobs.
Corporate finance saw modest jobs growth last year, but hiring is expected to pick up this year at 1.4 per cent growth to 13,000 jobs. Securities jobs are also predicted to grow two per cent to 81,000. Professional services are expected to expand at 1.3 per cent to 76,000.
Morgan McKinley's survey in late April found that technical accounting, risk, compliance and derivatives specialists were in particularly short supply and that the number of vacancies in the City had risen to more than 10,500, over double the number recorded a year ago.