The outlook for financial services recruitment in the City is gloomy according to new research from Morgan McKinley.

Its March 2008 London Employment Monitor reveals a "guarded" approach to hiring in the capital’s financial district, which it says has been apparent since the beginning of the year.

New job opportunities were down two per cent on February and 23 per cent on March 2007. The number of candidates looking for new job opportunities also fell by three per cent compared to the previous month.

Robert Thesiger, chief executive of Morgan McKinley’s parent company Imprint, said the figures show that recruitment within London’s financial services industry has entered into a new phase.

"I think most would agree that the remainder of 2008 will be tough for both the financial services industry and financial services recruitment," he said.

And he predicted that until there is an upturn in confidence in the financial services sector the recruitment environment will remain "challenging".

Meanwhile the Centre for Economic and Business Research has suggested that City firms may cut up to 10,000 jobs this year as a result of the ongoing credit crunch.