Investment bankers in the UK received the biggest average uplift in their bonus payments globally this year, but were still grumbling about being underpaid. Hong Kong-based financial services professionals were paid a pittance by comparison, but were generally satisfied with what they received.
Over 40% of UK respondents to the eFinancialCareers 2014 bonus survey claimed that their payment was below what they were expecting this year. In Hong Kong, only 33% of respondents cited dissatisfaction with their bonus payments.
City bankers said they received an average bonus of $96.5k, an uplift of 29% on 2012, while Hong Kong financial services professionals were handed a mean of $32.6k, or a mere 2% rise. 38% of Wall Street respondents said they were happy with their bonus, but the same proportion said it was beneath their expectations.
Why were UK-based bankers so unhappy? It may be that the UK market is comprised of senior staff who receive a comparatively higher proportion of their pay in deferred stock. It also appears that senior staff were more likely to have their pay cut. Of those respondents claiming a bonus increase in the UK, the average payment was $89k while those whose bonus was reduced received a mean payment of $215k.
It’s also cultural, says Jon Terry, partner in the compensation practice at PwC: “As a very general rule, investment bankers in Asia are less likely to challenge or complain about their bonus payment, but will leave their current position anyway if they feel underpaid. It’s a very Anglo-Saxon trait to complain about bonuses, but many bankers in the UK will feel particularly aggrieved after years of regulatory intervention over bonus payments.”
UK bankers were also the most expectant going into bonus season, with 58% anticipating an increase, while just 42% of those on Wall Street said they expected an uplift.
Click on the thumbnails below to see infographics for the eFinancialCareers bonus survey in the UK and Hong Kong: