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Who earns more in investment banks? Traders? Or salespeople?

Weighing it up

Weighing it up

If you work in the markets business of an investment bank, where will you earn more – in sales, or in trading? And is there really any difference? After all, most banks employ so-called ‘sales traders’ who both take client orders and execute trades, thereby blurring the boundaries between the two.

New figures from Emolument, the pay benchmarking company, suggest there is a difference, but that it’s very small and varies according to seniority.

Emolument looked at 393 pay points for people working in sales and trading jobs across all asset classes at various levels of experience in the City of London. Mostly it seems that the average salesperson and the average trader earn the same at the same rank. However, director-level salespeople earn more than director-level traders, and then managing director-level traders out-earn their sales colleagues.

The figures are below and show total compensation (salaries and bonuses). Note the exponential increase in pay as you progress from one level to the next.

Here’s how much you’ll earn on average as an analyst in sales and trading

Trading: £54.1k ($88k)

Sales: £55.2k

Here’s how much you’ll earn on average as an associate in sales and trading 

Trading: £105k

Sales: £108k

Here’s how much you’ll earn on average as an vice president in sales and trading 

Trading: £192k

Sales: £186k

Here’s how much you’ll earn on average as a director in sales and trading 

Trading: £299k

Sales: £306k

Here’s how much you’ll earn on average as a managing director in sales and trading 

Trading: £742k

Sales: £733k

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