Big bonuses still expected by City workers despite recession

City workers expect a similar or higher bonus than last year despite the recession, a new survey shows.

Of 200 financial services professionals polled, 82% said they expect to receive a bonus and almost eight out of 10 expect to receive a similar or higher amount than 12 months ago.

This time last year, only 63.5% expected their bonus for 2008-09 to be the same or better than the previous year.

Most of those polled by recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley – 76.1% – were in the £35,000 to £80,000 basic salary bracket.

Of those, 60.3% expected a bonus of up to 25% of their base salary and almost one-third said they expected a reward of between 26% to 100% of their basic wage.

Only 18% of respondents said they did not expect to receive a bonus. Reasons included employers not paying out for bonuses this year, ineligibility for not being with the employer long enough, poor team performance, and redundancy.

The findings also revealed that employers are planning to or have implemented a restructure of the components that make up total compensation packages.

More than one-quarter said their firm had or was planning to implement ‘no change in basic salary and a decrease in bonus element’, and 23.2% said the change was an ‘increase in basic salary and a decrease in bonus element’.

Andrew Evans, managing director of Morgan McKinley’s financial services division, said the bonus expectations did not signal a return to ‘boom times’ because last year’s payments were at suppressed levels. He also said it would be interesting to see how the expectations compare to actual payouts in the New Year.

Evans added: “More than one-quarter of financial services professionals surveyed said their employer had already or is planning to restructure the components of total compensation packages.

“It has been the subject of speculation that any change would be an increase in basic salaries to compensate for a decrease on bonus amounts but, in fact, more respondents indicated that, at their firms, basic salaries were unchanged and bonuses had been reduced. It is still early days so we will have to wait and see how the pay structures change over the coming months.”

In August, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) admitted it cannot control bonuses paid by City banks.

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