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London bankers lament more work, less pay, and extreme insecurity

If you thought you had it rough, try being a banker in London.

Our annual salary and bonus report was based on a wide-ranging survey with 3,500 respondents – but it didn’t just ask for compensation information. Thousands of finance industry professionals also shared their thoughts on their compensation and job security.

It seems that plenty of people in finance are annoyed at their pay. And although London didn't rank as the most annoyed place (that accolade goes to Hong Kong), our respondents in London were particularly vocal about their disgruntlement.

“London bankers are unfairly paid,” one M&A associate based in the city told us. Partly because "London is one of the most expensive cities in the world,” but also because the pound has declined in value over the past 20 years and banks haven't acknowledged this. One London respondent complained that his sterling pay is based on the pre-Brexit dollar and euro exchange rate.

Another associate, in risk management this time, felt let down by the government as much as their employer. “With the current cost of living scenario and the falling quality of British public services,” they declared, “I believe my compensation should be higher.” This is to compensate paying for, among other things, private healthcare.

Others are less worried about the lack of compensation they receive in London, and instead more worried about receiving too much of it. “High fixed pay and being based in London means you always have a target on your back from a cost-cutting perspective,” another senior respondent said. However, they also claimed that the banking industry is “grossly overpaid” compared to “the NHS and public services.”

While London employees were full of angst, respondents in other countries were happier with their situations. An asset manager in Frankfurt said that, although he's not paid all that well, he felt a complete sense of job security. “Asset management in Germany. Enough said.” Various people mentioned the job security offered by German contracts. 

In London, by comparison, job insecurity seems rife. 

A London bank quant told us he feared that “they” want to get rid of him on account of his age and experience. This mysterious illuminati also disliked his being “opinionated, and unafraid to tell the truth,” which was “not welcome these days.” 

An London M&A associate noted that he didn't feel secure after expressing concerns about their team and reporting burnout, which seemingly resulted in his bonus being cut and fanned his job insecurity. 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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