Thirty-five looks like the optimum age to leave banking

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How long should you hang on in a banking career if you want to get rich? A long time, if the UK government’s figures for poor pay in other industries are to be believed.

In fact, our survey of 770 financial services professionals suggests people should try getting out of banking before they’re 35 – or risk taking a pay cut.

As the figures below show, average compensation in financial services rises steadily from the moment an individual enters the industry, until 14 years into a career. Thereafter, it falls.

Given that most people enter banking in their early twenties, the implication is that bankers should be getting out and doing something else in their mid-30s. If not, they risk earning less.

Our figures suggest pay rises again for people with 20-24 years experience. However, our sample size here was small (suggesting there are comparatively few mid-40 year old financial services professionals) and could have been skewed by a few high earners.


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