Speak to any senior investment banker who’s been in the industry for a long period of time, and one common theme comes up – pay is not what it was. Whether it’s down to the bonus cap in Europe, which predominantly limits variable pay to 100% of salary, or investment banks being more prudent with pay, it’s no longer a fast-track to retire at 40.
But, to put it in perspective, banking still pays very well. Moreover, even if you’re in a comparatively low paying job in the financial sector, you’ll earn more than the vast majority of people in the UK. New figures from compensation benchmarking website Emolument.com, suggest that the best place to be in finance is…M&A. The figures below for director level employees, show that total compensation comes in at an average of £308k in London for investment bankers. Trading jobs still have the edge over sales, with £295k and £288k in total compensation respectively. All of the top five paying finance jobs are front office roles in an investment bank.
Looking at the flip side, the ‘worst’ paying finance job is a middle and back office role in asset management. This is, admittedly, a fairly broad brush – a risk manager will earn far more than a fund accountant, for example – but Emolument suggests that senior back and middle office staff bring in a total of £112k. What’s more, actuarial roles, which take six years and 15 exams before you’re even qualified to work in the sector, are at the wrong end of the pay table with average compensation of £142k.
In truth, these figures gloss over the fact that banks’ tendency to shift support functions to lower cost destinations – both in the UK and abroad – means there are finance jobs that pay a lot less than this. Figures from recruiters Robert Walters, for example, suggest that a back office banking role in the North of England can offer a starting salary of £18k.
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