Junior bankers 'receive pay rises'

30 November 2010

A new survey has revealed that middle and junior-level workers at financial institutions in the UK have enjoyed significant pay rises in recent months, despite the country's ongoing economic uncertainty.

The Independent reported that research carried out by City recruitment firm Astbury Marsden found even some so-called "vice- presidents" - a general term for middle-ranking staff - are taking home annual salaries of close to £100,000 ($155,070).

According to the study, the average base salaries for vice-presidents working in London rose from £81,200 last year to £97,500 in 2010, despite criticism from regulators and political squabbling over banking sector pay packets.

Astbury Marsden managing director Jonathan Nicholson explained: "The salary rises you are seeing at the top are very much permeating down through the organisation. As much as two-thirds of compensation is now fixed."

Many assistant vice-presidents have also been granted pay hikes over the last year, with their salaries growing by an average of 12 per cent to reach an overall median of £70,000 per annum - up from £62,945 in 2009.

Mr Nicholson added that fixed payments are now viewed as particularly important by bank employees and industry watchdogs alike, with the Financial Services Authority recently stepping up efforts to even the balance between base wages and performance-related remuneration.

However, the expert warned that even those who have been on the receiving end of salary increases may find their job remains insecure and implied some staff are unaware their higher wages are likely to result in lower bonuses.

His comments came after the Sunday Times revealed chief executives at Standard Chartered, HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS could be poised to accept supplementary monetary rewards this year for the first time since the recession hit.

Press reports have suggested that financial sector recompense has been something of a source of conflict between Conservative chancellor George Osborne and business secretary Vince Cable since the coalition government was formed in May.

By Gary Cooper

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