It’s a sign that things are tough for banking jobs when an organization that’s not known being a big payer and which caps bonuses at only 28%, finds more people accepting its job offers than Goldman Sachs does.
At a presentation earlier this year, Gary Cohn, COO at Goldman Sachs said that around 80% of people who are offered jobs at Goldman Sachs accept them. Today, the UK’s new regulatory body, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), released its first annual report and said the acceptance rate for jobs at the FCA is more like 95%.
The FCA also said that it caps bonuses for its executive directors at 35% of their ‘average pensionable salary’. A spokesman for the FCA said bonuses for all other staff are capped even lower than this – at just 28% of salary and that most bonuses at the FCA are more like 15%. When salaries and bonuses are both included, average pay at the UK regulator for 2012-2013 was £75k. At Goldman Sachs it was more like £523k ($399k).
So, what makes people so keen to accept offers at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority? It may have something to do with the fact that it’s actually been hiring. While banks have been cutting jobs, the FCA said it’s added 30 new heads of department. Over the past year, 182 people have been added to its ‘conduct’ division and 64 people have been added to its operations division. The FCA said it’s now hiring for is new ‘competition department.’
The comparatively high acceptance rate for jobs at the FCA may not tell the whole story, however. While Goldman says it has 45 applications per role at the junior level, the FCA’s report makes no mention of the number of people actually applying for its jobs and the FCA was unable to immediately provide us with this information. Elsewhere in the report, the FCA complains that it’s having trouble attracting enough experienced people to its jobs. It’s possible, therefore, that the FCA receives very few applications per role and that candidates who do apply are unusually desperate for a job offer.
Alternatively, it’s possible that people accept roles at the FCA because the regulator is an amazing employer, or because they want to use it as a stepping stone for going onto something else. The latter is very often the case, said Alex Stimpson, a compliance recruiter at Robert Walters. “Most people see the regulator as a good starting point for their career. They stay there for 3-5 years and then move into compliance at an investment bank,” he told us.