By Katharina Ehrhart, Researcher in the City of London Research Team
In this blog we are interested in the occupations that are predominantly located in London and the City. We want to know what attracts highly skilled workers to this location. It is often said that people chose London because of the career opportunities it offers, and we will look at whether the data confirms this. Our focus will be on financial services (FS).
Highly skilled jobs in London
London has a working population of over 5 million and a significant number of senior positions - 58% of all jobs in London are high-skilled, and in the City this share rises to 68%. Across Great Britain, 45% of all jobs are high-skilled. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) defines high-skilled as occupations that require degree-level education or a high-level vocational qualification. Below is a breakdown of jobs across sectors in London and in GB into high, medium and low-skilled roles.
There is a ‘sorting effect’ which means jobs in London overall are more senior than elsewhere. This is even more true for industries that rely on highly skilled workers, and trading with other businesses, e.g. knowledge-intensive business services. It is in these types of firms that more of the jobs in London are ‘top level’ and financial services are a great example for this. Below we can see a breakdown of jobs in and outside of London along the major occupation groups (Fig 2).
Highly skilled jobs in the FS sector
Together the three high-skilled occupation groups (highlighted in purple) account for just over 80% of FS employment in London. Outside London, they also represent a majority of jobs at just under 60% of employment. However, Administrative Occupations, a medium-skilled occupation which has the second-highest share of total employment outside London (at 30.1%), is less present in London.
Top 5 FS occupations in the City
By digging deeper into data from the economic modelling service EMSI, we can identify what this means for businesses, by the types of FS jobs located in the City. Clearly these are mostly high-skilled positions but also include medium-skilled positions such as Bank and Post Office Clerks. Below we can see the top five FS occupations in the City.
The ONS and EMSI data used above demonstrate the wealth of high-skilled employment opportunities present in London and the City. Previous City of London research showed that City professionals choose to work in London because of its rich opportunities for building and advancing a career. These opportunities arise both from the depth and breadth of practice in a global financial centre such as London as well as from the possibility for junior staff of finding an experienced mentor.
The interviews we have conducted as part of our forthcoming report on location decisions “City as a Place for People” have built on this. For highly skilled individuals, it makes sense to work in London, where the most prestigious employers in the private and public sector, numerous international headquarters as well as the head hunters are based.
 These include occupation major groups 1-3.
 Occupations on 4-digit SOC code level.