There's a good reason why Macquarie Bank is known as the "millionaires factory."
After reporting a 51 per cent jump in interim earnings earlier this month, the bank's accounts show its salary bill also rose strongly, jumping from AU$1.2bn to AU$1.8bn. That's an average of AU$201,494 for each of its 8,698 employees, with senior executives pulling in AU$150m combined.
But in a year of record bank earnings and massive floats in the Australian market, there's no doubt that other banks are giving Macquarie a run for its money in the pay stakes.
Recruiters point out that if you're at a senior level in any of the large investments banks, particularly those involved in deals such as the AU$15bn Telstra offering, base pay cheques and incentive bonuses will be going through the roof.
"I'd expect that if you're one of the bankers at UBS or ABN Rothschild that have been managing the sale process for the Telstra float that there will be huge bonuses flowing through from the fees that are being paid," says one senior recruiter, who preferred not to be named.
Yet Nick Deligiannis, senior regional director for recruitment firm Hays, says the big pay rises at the top levels aren't necessarily flowing all the way down the ranks.
"Our research on our recent salary survey, where we quizzed nearly 1,700 clients and looked at the banking sector specifically, was that around 60 per cent of employees in the banking sector increased salaries by about the three to six per cent mark. That is fairly restrained given the excellent profit results that the banks have been reporting."