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Banking salaries peak in your 40s, but bonuses don’t

Veteran status in a bank might not mean as much as you might think.

Data from our 3,500-response strong compensation survey, on which we base the data in our annual salary and bonus survey, has revealed that bankers between 41 and 45 years of age outearn all of their colleagues, on average – but their bonuses aren’t the reason for this.

Why, then? Salaries.

As the chart below shows, the main reason banking professionals aged between 41-45 out-earn the rest is that their salaries are higher. They're paid more in salary than people younger than them and they're paid more in salary than people older. 

Bonuses, however, peak for people aged between 31-35.

The sample sizes from the survey well beyond the threshold of anomalous results, so what makes bonuses higher for 30-somethings and salaries higher for 40-somethings?

The answer is the kinds of jobs that people in banking do in their 30s versus the kinds of jobs they do in their 40s. Our data shows that older people in banking are more likely to be working in the middle and back office than the front office, where bonuses are higher. Respondents aged between 31 and 35 were equally likely to work in the front office as the middle and back office; but respondents aged 41-45 were 1.5x more likely to be in non-front office jobs.  

The implication might be that if you want a really long career in banking, you need to switch away from the grinding jobs in the front office. But you might want to wait until your late 40s to do so.

You can download our compensation report here.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: Zeno.Toulon@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

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AUTHORZeno Toulon
  • Jo
    John Doe
    1 June 2022

    Haha I am always bemused by the figures in such articles. I am a VP in Trading in a Tier-1 shop and I have absolutely no idea how such levels of earnings could be achievable (nor do any of my friends whose earning I am aware of).

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