Bonus hopes go stratospheric

eFC logo

Ever the optimists, it seems bankers are expecting this year's bonuses to be higher than ever.

The latest survey by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley suggests 93% of City financial services employees expect this year's bonus to be higher than or the same as last year's, and that 25% expect at least double what they received in 2005.

Avid readers of eFinancialCareers.com can be forgiven a sense of déjà vu - last year Morgan McKinley asked bankers the same question and elicited positive expectations from 75% of them, with 25% expecting pay to double.

Unfortunately, optimism is no guarantee of success. By February 2005, when Morgan McKinley asked bankers to comment retrospectively on payouts, only 60% of respondents said they'd received more than the previous year and only 10% had achieved the much vaunted doubling.

Robert Thesiger, chief executive of Morgan McKinley, says bankers are in danger of over-egging the bonus pudding for the second year running. "When it comes to bonus expectations, the human brain seems to go hand in hand with employers' results - people see that a bank's profits are up 80% and immediately assume their bonus will be too."

In fact, Thesiger predicts only top performers will see any appreciable rise and that banks need to prepare people for this reality: "Expectation management is going to be a much bigger issue this year than previously."

Banks that mismanage expectations could have problems on their hands: 75% of Morgan McKinley's respondents said they'd look for a new job if their bonus wasn't up to scratch.

Close