More than two-thirds of financial professionals worldwide were unsatisfied with their overall remuneration package last year, showed a survey published by recruiting firm Selby Jennings on Monday, with nearly half of the respondents asserting that their pay was unfair given “the current market conditions.”
The study, which surveyed over 600 bankers from Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and London, found that bankers were “unhappy” with their compensation, particularly as "excellence is not incentivised" – pointing to lower bonus packages.
According to the survey, as cited by Business Insider, 23.2 percent of bankers did not receive a bonus last year, while 16.8 percent only received up to 10 percent of their salary, with just 8.7 percent receiving a full bonus proportionate to their base salary.
The bankers surveyed came across all levels of employment, from those earning less than £50,000 ($74,525) a year to those in the high-income bracket – above £350,000 ($527,771) a year. Hong Kong had the highest proportion of bankers with the top pay scale, while Singapore bankers had among the lowest base salaries.
Notably, New York and London, where public opinion has turned significantly against bankers bonuses, has seen a reduction or drop off in both base salaries and bonuses. In New York, nearly 20.9 percent of bankers did not receive a bonus last year – the worst among the cities surveyed; While 19.4 percent of London-based bankers also did not receive a bonus last year.
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Some 80 percent of London-based bankers told Selby Jennings that receiving a bonus would improve performance, though they acknowledged that the system was not necessarily fair to all workers.
One respondent, an associate vice president at a financial firm, said, as cited by InvestmentWeek: "Some of the managers I know of award bonuses based on how close/friendly the person is to himself rather than on performance. Others also wish to give higher bonuses to senior team members otherwise they will be 'unhappy' and leave the team".
"I am in favour of changing bonus system to bonuses that depend to a large extend on long term performance or improvement of results (10 - 20 yrs). Now bonuses are too much related to short term targets,” added one company director.
Selby Jennings’s survey findings corresponded with similar studies conducted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that about one in three workers say they work in a job that is too high-stress and pays too little.
Nonetheless, a Reuters report on Sunday found that bankers’ pay globally had risen by $13.1 billion last year. A senior executive at one of the biggest U.S. banks told Reuters that traders and bankers were probably upset with their current pay, as they were comparing their packages to 2008, before Wall Street profits and bonuses were scrutinised.