Is 68k the new normal for banking pay?

eFC logo

It may not sound much if you have children to put through school and a high maintenance spouse/ big mortgage to service, but 70k could be just about all the average front office banker can expect in future.

Research published last month by academics at NYU Stern and the University of Virginia found that banking pay rises rapidly compared to the norm during periods of deregulation, creativity and innovation, and falls just as rapidly thereafter.

Accordingly, relative compensation in financial services soared between 1920 and 1933, and soared again from 1990 until very recently.

Last week, Financial Times columnist Tony Jackson described own his experience of the broadening discrepancy -

In 1982 I switched jobs from broking analyst to financial journalist, and quite soon my pay at the FT was the same as what I was earning before. In 2000 I reversed the switch, and my pay almost tripled.

If past experience is anything to go by, financial services remuneration now looks set to return to trend.

How far will it fall? In 2007, however, average compensation across JPMorgan (investment bank), Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs was $441k, or 311k at today's exchange rates.

By comparison, mean annual earnings for men working full time in the 20 best professions in the UK in 2008 were just 68k.