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The survey, covering City of London staff using Meridian's services, showed that 51% went back into work with a salary increase.

Linda Jackson, business director at Meridian, says that she has not noticed any change in the new employment figures since March, despite continuing job losses at banks amid the economic slowdown.

'Some banks may have hiring freezes, but line managers still often call the shots. Some are able to hire staff if they want to,' she says.

Jackson says networking has become increasingly important for job seekers, as informal approaches for work often find more success than formal ones in the current climate.

The average age of Meridian clients was 34, compared with 32 last year. The proportion of Meridian clients going back into work in the City of London rose to 57%, from 49% last year.

Some of those who looked elsewhere made imaginative choices - one became a helicopter pilot and another a cab driver.

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