After a prolonged jobs famine, recruitment activity in the financial sector climbed steeply during August; new data from specialist financial services recruiter Astbury Marsden reveals that it rose by 16%.

The number of new openings rose from July’s total of 2,150 to 2,490 in August, reflecting the prospect that confidence is returning to the sector. Astbury Marsden’s chief operating officer, Mark Cameron, said that in recent years finance employers had concentrated on ‘back office’ roles such as regulatory compliance and risk control, which continue to hold up well.

Mr Cameron continued: “However, employers have found it very difficult to justify replacing staff let alone increasing headcount for roles outside risk and compliance, which has left some areas operating with just a skeleton team. But now City employers do seem to be feeling more comfortable about staffing up in their most profitable divisions. They want to be ready to take advantage of growth opportunities as the economy picks up and the outlook improves for equity markets and IPO and M&A activity.”

Astbury Marsden’s data shows an increase in hiring for revenue-generating roles such as traders, investment bankers and their IT support teams, most of which have been on hold since the recession struck in 2008.

There remains “plenty of scope for shocks on the road ahead”, Mr Cameron warned, noting the recent Syrian crisis and concerns in India; however, the evidence suggests that confidence amongst both hirers and hirees is climbing.

An implication of the findings is that freelancers contracting in financial services, including specialist Umbrella Company Employees, may also benefit from the rise in confidence after a lean few years.

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