Bonus envy could be growing in Asia Pacific as elite bankers pull in big payments at the expense of the rest. The eFinancialCareers annual bonus survey suggests that employers are giving little or nothing to staff who don’t perform, but doling out decent bonuses to retain those who produce revenue.
The best APAC bonuses were found in Hong Kong, a larger revenue centre for investment banking than Singapore or Sydney. Comparing 2012 with 2011, Hong Kong finance professionals saw the highest rise in average bonuses (19%), with payouts in Australia and Singapore increasing by 10% and 8% respectively.
However, while the average was up, only a minority of respondents reported an increase, indicating that the average was inflated by a comparatively small number of high performers who picked up larger payouts.
In Hong Kong and Singapore respectively, 39% and 31% of respondents received a better bonus in 2012 than in 2011, with this bonus-rise group slightly larger than in the equivalent survey 12 months ago. In Australia, the figure was 28%, down from 34% a year ago.
Bonuses were flat or down for many people in Asia Pacific. In Australia, the decrease figure stood at 40%, more than in Singapore (33%) and Hong Kong (22%). Around a quarter of respondents in all three markets said their bonus had stayed the same.
Firms have done a mixed job in managing employee bonus expectations. About half those surveyed in Hong Kong (51%) and Australia (53%) said their bonus had met or exceeded their expectations. Singapore professionals were a less happy bunch, with 52% saying their payment was lower than they had thought it would be.
The survey was compiled in February from the initial responses of 1051 APAC-based financial professionals who were bonus-eligible and knew the amount of their bonus.