Bonus expectations reflect City confidence

Nearly 60% of City workers predicted that their 2005 bonuses would be higher than the previous year and only 8% said their bonus would be smaller than 2004, according to a recent survey.

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More than 40% of City employees expected their bonus to be up by more than 30%, with 20% believing they would rise by more than 100%, the research by financial recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley revealed.

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Of the 145 respondents, less than one fifth (17%) believed their bonus would be the same as the previous year.

“It is clear that optimism among City workers remains extremely high. While there has been some managing of expectations by the major investment banks over the last couple of months, the overriding sentiment continues to be very positive,” said Robert Thesiger, chief executive of Morgan McKinley.

“The financial services industry has had another good year, with strong performances from a number of financial institutions. Increased merger and acquisitions activity over the past few months is strengthening market confidence,” he added.

…but pay dips and new jobs dry up

Average City salaries dipped sharply in November, according to the latest figures.

The average for senior professionals fell to £72,571 from £76,982 in October, with middle-market professionals dropping to £43,890 in November from £46,102 in October. The average wage for a support and administration role in the City fell to £28,850 in November from October’s £29,750.

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However, Thesiger said the fluctuating salary rates were to be expected.

“The figures are indicative of the classic recruitment cycle we are currently in,” he said. November and December are traditionally two of the quieter months of the year as City employers and employees focus their attentions on the imminent bonus season rather than commencing aggressive hiring campaigns or seeking new opportunities,” he said.

The number of new City vacancies also decreased slightly from 5,859 in October to 5,796 in November.

However, the year-on-year growth trend continued with a 7% increase on November 2004 levels.

The number of professionals seeking employment within London’s financial services industry dropped slightly from the previous month (6,160 in November compared with 6,690 in October) with a more significant drop seen in comparison to the previous year.

Thesiger said the candidate-driven market was a key factor, with City workers waiting until their bonuses had been paid before looking to move elsewhere.

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