Technology pay: Big bonuses still a rarity

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Pay for banking technologists has been rising, but employees in the sector are still poorly paid compared to their colleagues in the front office.

According to a survey by the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo), pay for contactors working in banking IT jobs in London recently reached levels comparable to the peak of the market in 2000 - namely 50 an hour, and the Association predicts further rises in 2006.

However, recruiters say full-time employees have done less well out of the recent hiring spree. Bonuses equivalent to multiples of base salary remain the exception. "Bonuses of 100% or more are few and far between," says Guy Pickrell, a consultant at the New York office of banking technology recruiter Nationstaff. "There are a few people at manager level who get that sort of bonus, but most people this year got bonuses somewhere between 30% and 60%."

A C++ programmer with five years' experience can expect to earn $120,000 base salary and $160,000 to $200,000 total compensation working on Wall Street, says Pickerell. By comparison, Chris Croft at London-based Huxley Associates, says comparable City of London programmers can command a base salary of 70-90k, plus a bonus 50% to 100%.

Pay in France and Italy is poor by comparison. In Italy, Riccardo Malusa, a consultant at Milan-based recruiter DMR-Consulting, says a C++ programmer with five years' experience can expect around €30,000 (21,000). Research by Paris-based RCBF Consulting suggests similarly experienced staff in Paris can expect €50,000 max.