Employee numbers at largest UK banks see ‘highest increase in 10 years’

The number of employees across the UK’s six largest banks has risen by 0.6 per cent – the highest increase in a decade – new research suggests.

However, the number of employees at HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered, NatWest Group, and Nationwide Building Society has generally been trending downwards for the past 10 years.

According to analysis by The Banker, which published the figures, the number of bank staff in the UK has fallen from over 766,000 in 2023 to just upwards of 581,000 last year, representing a 23 per cent overall drop.

The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks 2023 ranking also found that for a second year in a row, UK banks were more profitable than their French counterparts.

Last year the UK recorded $52.7 billion in aggregate pre-tax profits (PTP) compared to $46.5 billion for France.

Overall the UK generated 18.93 per cent of PTP in western Europe, while France, Spain, Italy and Germany generated 16.70 per cent, 12.96 per cent, 8.6 per cent and 6.24 per cent respectively.

HSBC was named the only European bank in the global top 10 by Tier 1 capital for the 12th year running. The British lender fell one position to 10th, while all of the 'big six' UK banks in experienced declines in Tier 1 capital in 2022.

Barclays dropped three positions to 27th, Lloyds Banking Group fell 10 spots to 52nd, Standard Chartered moved down five to 56th, and NatWest Group dropped eight spots to 61st in the global ranking.

However, Nationwide moved up two spots to reach 104th position, despite a 1.39 per cent decline in core capital.

“Despite general declines, the UK banks have generated more profit than their European rivals," said Joy Macknight, The Banker editor. "With the exception of HSBC and Standard Chartered, which report in US dollars, the downward trend can be mainly attributed to the strong US dollar, the currency in which The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking is denominated.

"The dollar appreciated 12 per cent against the pound in 2022.”

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