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Are bankers happy with their bonuses?

NOTE: if using the data below, it is essential that you refer to as ‘salary benchmarking site’ and use hyperlinks to has analysed salary data from 5,000 Bankers working in London

Banks are well known for fiercely maintaining secrecy around their remuneration policies: bankers are urged not to discuss their pay, often a sackable offence, all the while dying to know if they should be satisfied with 'their number'.

The first tip every junior learns during their first bonus season, is to never ever seem remotely satisfied or grateful when bonuses are disclosed. As most bankers simply do not know how they should feel, if they are being 'taken for a ride' by their MD assuring them that they have done well, or if they are paid twice as much as their peers, the safest option is to be and to act upset in order to pressure management to pay more the following year with frequent threats ('I heard so and so were recruiting'), and tantrums.

The reason for this wasted energy and focus: lack of transparency. With no visibility (apart from the odd conversation after a few drinks), bankers develop a high level of paranoia, spending time, and energy attempting to figure out where they stand.

Considering how well bankers are paid in the grand scheme of things, it is depressing to see that up to 73% are dissatisfied or unsure about their latest bonus. Improved transparency would probably allay their concerns and encourage bankers to transform their frustration into positive energy to be reinvested back into their businesses and personal development.

Bonus perception by seniority level


Bonus perception by bank

Bankers were given the choice of responding 'Yes', 'No', 'Unsure' to the question: 'Were you happy with your bonus?'

Thomas Drewry, CEO at said: 'Lack of pay transparency fosters paranoia and misconceptions. It is high time the taboo around pay disappeared to allow employees to make informed choices rather than be kept in the dark with the frustration of constant guesswork.' – an overview was launched in 2012 as the only real-time bonus & salary benchmarking site dedicated to finance and other professional services industries. With over 48,000 contributions from individuals at over 18,500 institutions the service has become the leading provider of validated real-time remuneration data. crowdsources salary and bonus data directly from individual professionals who contribute anonymously. In return, contributors receive free access to aggregated market results broken down by title, location and sector.  Emolument’s mission is to provide greater transparency about what professionals really earn to help them make more informed career decisions.
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