Bonus banked, now bye-bye

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A new survey suggests most City employees received more than last year in the recent bonus round. But they're still planning to move on.

The survey of 149 middle and back-office professionals by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, suggests 62% of them received more than they got for 2005, and 66% were happy with their payouts.

Nevertheless, nearly half said they were planning to change jobs once their bonuses are banked.

Rob Thesiger, chief executive of Morgan McKinley, says defectors are being encouraged by the buoyant job market: "Although many banks have managed bonus expectations well, the research shows that employees will still move in order to take advantage of the abundance of roles and career opportunities that are currently available."

Morgan McKinley's research also indicates that new job numbers rose 19% in January 2007 compared to January 2006, while basic salaries in middle and back-office roles rose marginally to an average of 51k.

A poll on eFinancialCareers last month found 53% of respondents were happy with their bonus, while 31% said their payout was 'miniscule'.

Alex Williams, a consultant at search firm Pelham International, says the people who received the smallest sums were underperformers: "The top quartile in most institutions has been well paid this year, and those in the middle have been paid OK. People who aren't happy are in the bottom quartile."

In the current market, they may well be able to walk into new jobs anyway.