Where it's possible to earn six-figure salaries in non-exciting finance jobs

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Rumour has it that if you work in risk, regulatory or compliance within the financial sector you can practically stroll into a new role and name your own salary. The reality, however, is slightly different – yes, employers are fearful of losing their top staff, but pay increases have remained subdued.

The job with the biggest bump up in salaries over the past 12 months has been head of operational risk, according to the new UK financial services salary guide by recruiters Robert Half that will be available on the firm’s website tomorrow. However, even here they’ve increased by an under-whelming 8.9% year on year.

The research covers the sort of jobs that most would deem relatively dull – the middle and back office positions that have often provided the biggest volume of job opportunities over the past year, but which lack the glamour of the trading floor and advisory functions of investment banks.

However, it’s in these positions that banks are struggling to both recruit and retain their talent – 95% of firms surveyed by Robert Half said they were fearful of losing staff to competitors.

If you work in investment banking operations, though, which has been subject to offshoring and nearshoring moves in recent years, salaries in London can be surprisingly low. Pay for those with up to three years’ experience can start at £25k, suggests the survey. Making it to six-figures is hard, and (outside of the very senior ranks), collateral management positions get closest, with £96k at the senior end, says Robert Half.

Within compliance, know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering are currently the places to be to earn bigger salaries (£121.7k) without making it to the very senior ranks. Heads of compliance earn the largest salaries (up to £202.5k+) in the middle office, says Robert Half, but market risk offers consistently high six-figure salaries without making it to the managerial levels.

Here’s a break down of what you should expect to earn in the middle and back office. For access to the full salary survey follow this link.