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Candidates ready to accept lower pay

Our survey of financial services professionals, undertaken at the end of last month (ie, post the worst of October, but pre Citigroup’s 50k job loss announcement), suggests a degree of realism is penetrating the financial services job market.

Of the 365 of you who answered the survey, nearly 60% were prepared to accept a pay cut in your next job.

Predictably, this willingness was higher amongst people who were out of the market – of whom 80% said they’d be willing to accept less pay in return for a job.

More surprisingly, 20% of people working at the moment were willing to accept a pay cut in their next role.

This is about as far as the realism goes, however. Although you’re willing to accept less pay in a new job, you’re not willing to accept that much less.

Only a quarter of respondents who haven’t got a job were willing to contemplate a pay cut of more than 25% in their next role, and more than 60% of people already out of the market said they wanted their next role to be either comparable to or better than their last one.

Respondents also showed considerable attachment to financial services: despite the disappearance of thousands of banking jobs, only 7% were prepared to contemplate working in another industry altogether.

Anyone moving out of banking altogether may have to swallow a very substantial pay cut. Based on weekly earnings, the median UK salary in 2007 was 25k.

Comments (4)

  1. This is interesting stuff and there has been increasing evidence of this in the last couple of weeks.

    Were you able to get a indicator of the types of people took this survey? (i.e. front, middle or back office)? And was it from a Total Compensation or a basic salary perspective?

  2. “Based on weekly earnings, the median UK salary in 2007 was 25k.”

    How is that even possible?? I spent more than that as a 21-year-old, 1st year graduate! Must be a heavily subsidised lifestyle without fine wines, dining and luxury holidays for Joe Average.

  3. Poll – we asked people which sector of the market they were working in. 8% came from M&A alone, and we also had quite a few from derivatives, hedge funds, asset management and debt/fixed income, so it’s fair to assume that a lot of the respondents were from the front office. Unfortunately, the sample size isn’t large enough to go through analysing pay expectations by sector.
    Expectations were for total comp rather than salaries, although people may have answered with salaries in mind. The specific question was, ‘Given comparable market conditions, if you are applying for a new job would you be willing to accept one that is likely to pay less than you achieved in your most recent position?

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  4. Basic Salaries will be lower almost across the board for new entrants. Total compensation will be much more sharply down. Certainly here, we are seeing new joiners coming in for at least 10-15% down on last year. As to Total Compensation packages, i think dreaming of 50% of last year will be good going until the proverbial corner is turned

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