Survey shows financial professionals received higher pay raises than white collar counterparts in other professions

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Despite all the gloomy headlines about layoffs in the financial markets, there is some positive news for those of you who chose to follow a financial career path.

A new survey released today shows that as a group, financial professionals received higher pay raises than their white collar counterparts in other industries.

According to the survey conducted by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), financial executives saw their pay increases hitting pre-recession levels.

The survey also pointed out that corporate treasurers actually did better than Chief Financial Officers when it came to raises. This was attributed to the treasurer's "ability to effectively manage liquidity throughout the recession" by AFP's President and CEO Jim Kaitz, who said "companies are rewarding this important role with a healthy combination of base pay, incentives and benefits."

The 2011 AFP Compensation Survey asked senior level financial professionals to provide compensation information for their entire staff and asked core level financial professionals to provide their own compensation information for calendar year 2010 as well as data on base salaries effective on January 1, 2011.

This is the 23rd year that AFP has published its compensation report.

Average annual salaries for financial professionals increased by 2.8 percent in 2010, bringing them nearly one percent point above the national average.

Bonuses averaged 16 percent of financial professionals' base salaries, compared to 14 percent in the previous year, but the number of companies awarding bonuses has been declining.

Of those surveyed, 65 percent of organizations awarded bonuses in 2010, down from 71 percent in 2009 and 75 percent in 2008.

The executive level of the finance profession experienced the highest salary growth - an increase of 3.2 percent, on average. Treasurers earned the highest average increase within the executive tier, 3.7 percent, compared to 2.8 percent for CFOs. This was the second year that treasurers received bigger raises than CFOs.

Staff level salaries increased by an average of 2.9 percent. Financial analysts received the highest raises within that category (4.3 percent), the largest increase that AFP recorded.

Support-level financial professionals earned the smallest raises (2.5 percent), reflecting new technologies and increased automation of clerical roles in finance. The clerk title received less than a one percent raise, for example.