By Daniel Hunter

The City job market stuttered in February but shows signs of stabilising after the decline in the latter stages of 2011, says Astbury Marsden, a leading financial services recruitment firm.

According to Astbury Marsden, there were approximately 3,585 City job vacancies in February 2012, down about 38% year-on-year, from 5,800 vacancies in February 2011.

“Although the City is still facing very tough trading conditions, there are now clear signs that the jobs market is stabilising after a turbulent few months," Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden, said.

“It is difficult to overestimate how big an effect the Eurozone crises had on sentiment in the banking sector, but the latest signs indicate a more settled City jobs market.

“The sovereign debt crises severely hampered City hiring plans last year, but it seems as if banks and hedge funds are becoming more optimistic on the news of the Greek debt resolution.”

According to the report there is appetite from some banks and City firms to hire but HR departments and line managers are still finding it difficult for senior management to approve budgetary sign off.

“January prompted an unexpected rise in City job vacancies as a result of pent up demand for City staff from the latter stages of 2011. February has been more subdued, but with fears of a double dip receding, we have started to see more consistent demand over the last couple of weeks," Mark Cameron said.

“Although the pace of jobs growth has slowed in February, we are seeing continued appetite from some of the smaller banks and more specialist City firms to hire. They are keen to take advantage of the abundance of talent on the market and move into some of the territory vacated by the big banks.

“The more niche trading firms and hedge funds will obviously be under less pressure from shareholders and investors to temper staff pay than some of the universal banks. Many of the smaller firms will consequently be able to offer more attractive remuneration packages.”

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