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Bankers who work in tall towers are paid more

Tall tower, large wallet

How tall is your office? Very tall? That's good - a tall office seems to be correlated with a large wallet.

New research from, the self-described 'real-time salary data specialist' suggests that UK-based bankers who work in Canary Wharf are paid more than bankers who work in the City of London.

The differences in compensation are quite substantial - especially when it comes to bonuses for junior bankers. Emolument found that Canary Wharf-based analysts get 50% higher bonuses than analysts based in the City of London. When salaries are factored in, analysts earn 8% more working in the Canary Wharf than in the City, and associates earn 21% more.

Canary Wharf is renowned for its tall towers. The City of London is renowned for its low-rise heritage buildings, although this is changing (slowly). Bankers in tall towers appear to be paid more.

Correlation does not necessarily mean causation, however. Higher pay in Canary Wharf may have less to do with the height of the buildings than the composition of the residents. The City of London is home to Deutsche Bank and UBS, neither of whom are known as big payers. Canary Wharf is home to U.S. houses like Citi and Morgan Stanley which have traditionally skewed pay towards performance. And yet, the City of London also hosts high payers like Goldman and BAML, and Canary Wharf also hosts low payers like HSBC - suggesting that composition may not be an explanation either.

Alternative explanations are welcome. Could it be that Canary Wharf bankers earn more to compensate the additional distance they have to travel to work (from West London) every morning?

Related articles:

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • An
    19 June 2014

    The explanation likely lies with the fact that the majority of the names present in Canary Wharf are established names who are likely to consistently be bringing in revenue. The author wasn't far off, but the difference isn't down to, say, the difference between banks like Morgan Stanley's pay and Deutsche's, which in the grand scheme of things isn't that different, but rather down to the fact that pretty much the majority of office space in CW is taken up by 'big' players, whereas there are plenty of boutique banks in the City that won't make that much, and hence won't pay that much, and the pay gap will diverge with seniority, hence the difference between associates is greater than analysts.

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