The real reason UBS is threatening to move jobs from London

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The cogs are turning in terms of Brexit. British Chancellor Philip Hammond has reportedly caused upset by meeting with a cohort of entirely British banks to solicit their opinions about the future. In the meantime, a Swiss bank - UBS - has joined HSBC and J.P. Morgan in cautioning that it could move thousands of jobs out of the City in the event of a messy Brexit.

This sounds ominous. The 1,500 people that UBS is threatening to move of London amount to 33% of the 5,430-or-so people UBS employs in the City. That's a big chance of the City workforce.

Brexit or not, however, there's a very good chance those jobs would disappear anyway. As the chart below, based upon jobs currently advertised on UBS's website, shows - the bank has almost completely reoriented its hiring away from London and towards Poland - especially when it comes to the 'corporate centre.'

This might not be too big an issue if 'corporate centre' roles entailed the sort of basic admin their name implies. But they don't. The corporate centre at UBS includes risk, compliance and finance jobs of the sort that have historically been located in London. Brexit hasn't even happened yet and these jobs are already being located in Kraków and Wroclaw.

It doesn't take immense astuteness to work out why. Salary figures on Glassdoor suggests associates at UBS in Poland are paid 4,000 zloty (£800) a month. Moving people out of London is cost effective. Brexit has nothing to do with it.


Photo credit: WE & UBS by Martin Abegglen is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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