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Google and Facebook are ramping up the fight for technologists in London. Banks have reason not to be too worried.

Why London technologists might prefer Facebook and Google to banks

Facebook and Google are going all out for London technology talent. Facebook announced today that it plans to hire 500 more people in London, bringing the total number of employees in its soon-to-be-opened Fitzrovia office to 1,500 by the end of next year. Google is doing something similar: last week it announced plans to hire an extra 3,000 people in London, to be housed in a new building near its existing Kings Cross site.

Ultimately, Facebook and Google expect to house around 7,000 people each in London. That's a large chunk of technology talent and is something you might think would fill banks with dread.

In reality, however, banks have already inured themselves to competition for London's top technologists: the vast majority of their technology jobs are far outside the City. As the chart below (based on the number of jobs each organisation is currently advertising on its website) shows, eight major banks combined are currently advertising only 67 technology jobs in London. Google and Facebook are advertising 109, and this is before their recruitment drives have even started.

Of course, banks' tech jobs reticence in London might have something to do with the time of year: financial services hiring typically winds down in the final quarter. But it's also likely to be related to the fact that a growing proportion of banks' technology jobs - including those formerly done in London, are now undertaken in cheaper offshore or near-shored locations. Hence, while Goldman Sachs has three technology jobs in London, it has 13 in Warsaw. While Bank of America has 9 jobs in London, it has 12 in Chester and 47 in Chennai and Hyderabad combined. While Deutsche has five technology jobs in London, it's going all out to build up its technology centre in Bucharest. 

Many of the technology roles on offer in these locations are more complex than the Java programming, testing, and support roles banks off-shored originally (although plenty of these still exist there too). Goldman Sachs, for example, is using its Polish tech hub to develop the risk analytics and visualization systems that are core to its future. UBS is developing Neo, its new project to replace all its current client facing systems with one modern multifunctional portal, out of Kraków.

Given that banks have already shunted many of their British technology jobs offshore, or to regional offices in Chester or Birmingham, this gives Google and Facebook a clear path to the best technologists in London and indeed the whole of the UK. - With the two tech companies located in Central London as opposed to the provinces, technologists may well prefer working there.

Even better, with the exception of UBS (which looks like London's best tech bank based upon current vacancies), figures on Glassdoor suggest Google and Facebook pay their London tech staff considerably more than most banks.



Photo credit: Google London Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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