Average earnings in the U.S. financial services sector were down 18% in 2012 compared to the previous year, with the sell side of Wall Street taking the brunt of the punishment, according to the eFinancialCareers 2012 Compensation Survey.
Sell-side participants reported a 24% dip in average earnings as they took home lower salaries and smaller bonuses in 2012. Entry-level financial services professionals were the other big loser; people with less than one year of experience saw a 22% decrease in compensation over the previous year.
It comes as no surprise that the most desired career event in 2013 among the 1,431 financial markets professionals surveyed was an increase in salary. Forty-one percent of respondents are holding out hope for a larger base salary, while just 17% list a better bonus opportunity as their top career priority, showing the change in culture on Wall Street. Bankers know the days of big bonuses are behind them. Non-salary earnings made up just 20% of total compensation, down from 36% in 2011.
Hot and Cold Sectors
While pay is down virtually across the board, several sectors are actively adding talent. Job postings for commercial banking were up 145% year-over-year, while accounting and operations roles increased 68% and 44%, respectively, during that period. Sectors that are shrinking include derivatives, foreign exchange and money markets, and commodities, which all saw greater than a 60% decline in job postings year-over-year.
With salaries dipping, financial services employees are more active in their search for better career opportunities. Forty-one percent of respondents said they are ready to make a career change, up from 35% in 2011.
The survey took place between January 7 and February 20, 2013. Nearly half of all respondents reside in the New York tri-state area.