Thousands of finance jobs leave London for EU

25 April 2022 2 min. read

After the UK left the European Union, many sources speculated the move could provoke an exodus of financial jobs from the country. Two years on from the finalisation of the Brexit process, research suggests thousands of roles have indeed exited the City.

In the protracted fallout of 2016’s referendum result, a growing number of groups have been predicted to begin leaving the UK in anticipation of a hard Brexit which will most likely be hostile to their needs. These included migrant workers, NHS staff, prospective students, graduates, manufacturers and many more. Thanks to their financial clout, however, the most prominent aspect of this forecast “Brexodus” has been the financial service sector.

This included the UK Government confirming to the Bank of England that some 5,000 roles could exit the financial services sector alone. Two years after the final culmination of Brexit, though, a new study from EY has suggested that this forecast was in fact an underestimate.

Thousands of finance jobs leave London for EU

According to the Big Four firm, more than 7,000 finance jobs have moved from London to the European Union as a result of Brexit. And financial firms suggested to EY in 2016 that they could move 12,500 jobs to the mainland after the changes – far more than have left so far – EY added that more could be set to follow.

In the latest edition of EY’s Brexit Tracker, hires linked to Brexit across Europe totalled 2,900 – ahead of 2,500 in Britain, where just over a million people work in the financial services sector. In the coming months, the exodus could ramp up, with regulatory issues incentivising more jobs to migrate abroad. The European Central Bank is expected to pressure Brexit hubs in the EU opened by banks which used London as their European base – and scrutinise whether they have sufficient staff to justify their new licences.

Omar Ali, EMEIA Financial Services leader at EY, commented, "Staff and operational moves across European financial markets will continue as firms navigate ongoing geo-political uncertainty, post-pandemic dynamics and regulatory requirements."

At present, Dublin remains the most popular destination for staff relocations and new hubs. The Irish capital emerged as a surprise favourite for financial institutions moving resources from the UK, ahead of Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris. Meanwhile, the transfer of assets from London to EU hubs remains around £1.3 trillion.