Record Business Insider: Boomtime for Finance Firm Chiefs; Record Rise in Job Numbers

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Byline: John Penman

MONEY chiefs are taking on staff at the fastest rate in 15 years, a survey revealed yesterday.

The growth came as the financial services industry recorded the strongest business figures for five years, according to the CBI and accountancy group PricewaterhouseCoopers.

But although companies expect further rises in staff numbers, they did not expect growth to beas strong as in the past quarter.

The survey will come as a relief to the Scottish financial sector which has struggled to cope with a difficult few years.

The finance sector supports tens of thousands of jobs, mainly in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Firmss such as Standard Life have encountered serious problems while others, including Abbey in Glasgow, have shed jobs or transferred business.

And the increased reliance on overseas call centres has also had an impact on Scotland. The UK-wide survey found only five per cent of financial services companies reduced their employee levels between March and June while 41 per cent took staff on.

That's the fastest rate of growth since the survey started in December 1989.

Strongest employment growth was recorded by fund managers, general insurers and building societies, while only life insurers said they had cut staff numbers Meanwhile, 53 per cent of firms said business was up compared with the previous quarter while nine per cent said it was down,the strongest figure since December 1999. …