Is a career in the City losing its appeal? With earnings dipping 10 percent, and two of every five finance professionals in the UK ready to jump ship in the hope to find better career opportunities elsewhere and increase their compensation, it is a legitimate question.
While the average bonus pay-out in the UK financial services fell by just 2 percent over the previous year, average earnings for the sector were hit harder, and were down 10 percent in 2012, according to eFinancialCareers’ latest Compensation Survey.
Middle office workers escaped the downward spiral unscathed, and their average earnings even increased by 3 percent. In comparison, front and back office workers both reported a 12 percent dip. "Bankers know the days of big bonuses are behind them, and financial services is no longer the goldmine it once was. Non-salary earnings made up 44 percent of total compensation, same as last year, but down from 51 percent in 2010,” comments James Bennett, Global Managing Director of eFinancialCareers.
Entry-level financial services professionals suffered the biggest blow. Professionals with less than two years of experience in the industry saw a 21% decrease in compensation over the previous year, and their bonus made up 24% of their total compensation, compared to 43% a year ago. "Financial services recognise the importance of attracting the brightest and best young professionals and invest millions each year in graduate schemes, but survey findings seem to point to harder times ahead to recruit, nurture and shape talent,” comments Bennett.
So is a career in the City losing its appeal? The short answer is no. The fact that 40 percent of surveyed professionals intend to change firms this year is in itself not surprising. Finance professionals tend to be forward thinkers, always looking for the next lucrative opportunity. Of those who are considering switching firms this year, only 5 percent stated they wanted to change industry altogether. So it looks like the breaking point where shrinking compensation is just not worth the long working hours is still some way off.
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