Any out-of-work bankers trying to get back in the game or young graduates hoping for a start in finance are facing a harsh reality: hardly any new jobs are being created in the City of London.
Only 1,490 jobs became available in December, nearly half the number that were being created a year ago - bad news for Chancellor George Osborne, who was hoping that the financial sector was on the mend and ready to pay more taxes again.
The figures come as banker bonus season begins and are likely to raise fresh questions about why those pay-outs are so high. Bankers argue that the pay awards are a reflection of a competitive market, a case that becomes harder to make given the small number of new jobs and the many thousands of lay-offs.
Nearly all banks and stockbroking houses are shedding staff due to lower levels of business.
For all of 2011, the total number of new City vacancies fell 8% to 54,020, according to the firm of headhunters Astbury Marsden.
Mark Cameron, the firm's chief operating officer, said: "After starting the year on something of a hiring high, 2011 finished on a low note with a marked slump in the number of new City jobs created."
He added that many of the new jobs are for regulatory and compliance roles.
"Although there were well over 50,000 new City jobs created last year, many were replacements for staff leaving for other jobs rather than brand new roles.
"Many of the genuinely new jobs that were created were to deal with the legacy of the banking crisis."