San Francisco: Opportunities? Yes. Money? Not So Much

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The city by the Bay's job market is thinner than New York's, and the compensation isn't as high, says one recruiter who asked that his identity not be disclosed. But thanks to the area's proximity to Silicon Valley, the demand for deal makers is pretty strong.

Base salaries are comparable to Wall Street though the bonuses aren't as lucrative. "In New York, it's not difficult to get to seven figures or multiple seven figures," the recruiter notes. In San Francisco, "it's doable but rarer."

One thing that New York and San Francisco do have in common is sky-high real estate prices. People moving to Northern California from anywhere besides the Big Apple are in for a rude awakening. A three-bedroom, three-bathroom condominium in San Francisco's fashionable Nob Hill neighborhood lists for $2.2 million. If that shocks you, you don't want to know the prices for single-family homes.

Junior-level bankers can expect a signing bonus. As in other markets, people with three to seven years experience are especially in demand. Prospective employers will buy out someone's accrued bonus for the year in order to lure them to their firms. However, don't expect to get the two-year contracts that are common on Wall Street, the recruiter warns.

Those experienced in investment banking may find luck with the area's thriving hedge funds, which are continuing to look for people. The recruiter also sees opportunities on trading desks.

The moral: If you want to bring your heart to San Francisco, there are plenty of employers interested in hiring investment bankers. Just don't forget your wallet.

Bankers in San Francisco: Chime in by adding your comment below.

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