Indicators and counter-indicators that your chances of finding a new financial services job have increased

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The bank holiday is over. The second half is approaching. And at last - a positive sign that financial services hiring is picking up: recruitment firm Astbury Marsden says London financial services vacancies rose 9% month on month in April. Last month, it estimates there were 3,455 new jobs ‘released’ in the City.

What were these jobs? Astbury Marsden doesn’t say. However, it specialises in risk, finance and technology roles, with a handful of corporate finance advisory positions thrown in, so it’s reasonable to assume much of the pick-up was in the middle office.

Does this mean it’s easy to get hired in the middle office? No. Recruiters say accounting and finance hiring has been dented by offshoring and that risk hiring is in pockets only and is lower than in both 2010 and 2011.

Astbury Marsden also points out that whilst hiring was up 10% month-on-month, it was down 27% year- on-year. Moreover, there were still 6,219 candidates competing for the new jobs.

Will April’s job's boost persist in May? The signs aren’t good. Investment banks’ revenues tend to be weaker in the second half. Political instability in Greece and uncertainty about Hollande’s policies in France don’t bode well for investors’ risk appetite.

Jobseekers may not be able to afford to be choosy. In the US, the Wall Street Journal has unearthed a former settlements clerk at MF Global who can’t a new financial services position and has been interviewing for jobs as a cashier or on an assembly line. "At this point, you have to do what you have to do," says Dan Whiteford.

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