Bank bonuses fall less than expected

Survey shows 2% drop in financial services industry

Bank employees across the UK have seen their bonuses shrink by an average of 9 per cent in the current bonus season, but the overall drop for the financial services industry was just 2 per cent, a survey has found.

Bonus levels did not fall as much as expected, said eFinancialCareers, a jobs website, which conducted the research among 600 financial services professionals. Some forecasters have suggested City bonuses could drop by as much as 30 per cent.

“On the face of it bonus levels seem to have held up surprisingly well, with average bonuses down just 2 per cent on last year. However, when you scratch beneath the surface there are big variances depending on where you worked and what your role was,” said James Bennett, managing director.

“Overall reported staff bonus levels continued to decrease in 2012, but it would appear that in the UK these decreases are driven more by headcount reductions than average bonus levels as firms try and keep hold of key staff and re-build their businesses.”

Average payouts remained the same or decreased for 47 per cent of those surveyed. The number of those who did not have a bonus as part of their remuneration increased from 10 per cent in 2011 to 13 per cent.

Front office workers – those in customer-facing roles – enjoyed significantly higher bonuses than others. Their average payout increased 1 per cent and was nearly four times as big as that of counterparts in the back office. The middle office suffered the biggest average bonus decline – 25 per cent over the previous year, compared with a 2 per cent drop for those in the back office.

Professionals on the “buy-side” fared better than colleagues on the “sell-side” – their average bonus increased 13 per cent. This was driven by a rise in the number of very large bonuses, rather than an overall increase.

Four of 10 were satisfied with their bonuses but nearly half were disappointed and said the payout had not met their expectations.

Across the economy, buoyancy in the job market was underlined by a report from Adzuna, a job search website, which found vacancies were up 4 per cent over the past six months.

However, the squeeze on pay continued, with the average advertised salary down 4 per cent at £33,166. Northwest England and the West Midlands saw the biggest drop.

Hotspots for jobs included Aberdeen, Cambridge and Guildford, where there were more vacancies than unemployed people. Hull is the city where it is hardest to find a job, with 51 candidates chasing every vacancy. Across the UK, there were 3.22 job seekers per role.

Andrew Hunter, Adzuna’s co-founder, said: “It’s been a fairly positive start to the year, with solid vacancy figures showing the labour market is relatively robust, despite the looming threat of a triple-dip recession.

“While encouraging, it’s far too early to pop the champagne corks. Many parts of the UK such as East Midlands and Yorkshire remain in crisis with job stock numbers dwindling and average wages decreasing.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.

More on this topic

Suggestions below based on Bank bonuses