Forget the fact that investment banks are Googlising their offices and shaking up their tech teams to include Agile working practices and innovation hubs to compete with start-ups and large IT firms, the financial sector could have a bigger concern – it no longer leads the way on pay.
Investment banks have always been the market leaders for paying technology talent, which has been seen as an attempt to make up for the lack of innovation and more hierarchical working environment. Table football may be absent, but the pay cheque makes it all worthwhile.
Now, ironically as technology becomes ever-more important for investment banks, they could be losing this lead, particularly in areas where competition for talent is tight. Speaking on the need for investment banks to get to grips with Big Data, Vincent Kilcoyne, UK and Ireland capital markets industry lead at SAS, told Euromoney: “If you look at the salaries being offered by companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, they are far outstripping anything the investment banks are offering for real leading talent. The amount of equity being given out to attract the best is considerable.”
Is this the reality? Let’s strip out the anomalies and look at the averages – there’s an ongoing rumour that an unnamed Google engineer is pulling in $3m a year, while those at the top of the tree in investment banking technology can easily make over $1m when all bonuses and stock options are factored in.
We’re more interested in what the rank and file can bring home, however, and have looked at job titles across Google and Facebook, taken from employee reviews on Glassdoor, and compared them to their nearest counterpart in investment banks – taken from figures provided to us by specialist recruiters Thomson Keene and, where necessary, other financial services recruiters.
The results suggest that investment banking is still (marginally) ahead in most areas, although both Facebook and Google are more inclined to shell out for their technical staff than banks, who are decidedly more generous with ‘softer’ technologists like business analysts and project managers. The question any aspiring techies will be asking themselves, though, is whether such a small salary differential makes it worth working for a bank.
Google salaries: $118.9k average (possible to earn up to $215k)
Facebook salaries: $118.4k average (possible to earn up to $193k)
Investment banking salaries: $89-129.5k (little or no banking experience, C#/Java specialist)
Senior software developer/engineer:
Google salaries: $153.3k average (possible to earn up to $250k)
Facebook salaries: $149.3k (possible to earn up to $185k)
Investment banking salaries: $129-194k
Google salaries: $108.5k (possible to earn up to $156k)
Facebook salaries: $144.1k
Investment banking salaries: $178.2k-243k
Google salaries: $104.2k (possible to earn up to $135k)
Facebook salaries: $107.3k (possible to earn up to $155k)
Investment banking salaries: $121.4-178.1k
Google salaries: $156k
Facebook salaries: $131.9k
Investment banking salaries: $150-350k
Google salaries: $80.5k
Facebook salaries: $99.5k (possible to earn up to $120k)
Investment banking salaries: $137.6-$178k
Google salaries: $110.5k (possible to earn up to $140k)
Facebook salaries: $140.5k
Investment banking salaries: $129k