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The sorry truth about pay at European banks

If you're looking for a banking job in 2018, particularly on Wall Street, you might want to try a European bank. European banks like UBS and Deutsche want to deepen their penetration of the U.S. market in 2018. In other words, they're hiring.

But while European banks are known for paying high salaries to compensate for their bonus restrictions under European law, they also have a reputation for paying less in total. New figures for combined salaries and bonuses in front office banking jobs from, the real time pay benchmarking company, suggest this reputation is entirely justified.

Shown in the charts below, Emolument's figures are based on pay at European and U.S. investment banks in the City of London. In most cases, U.S. investment banks pay a lot more than Europeans throughout your career. In sales, compensation starts 43% higher at analyst level and ends 45% higher at managing director level. The exception is research roles, where Emolument's figures suggest pay at U.S. and European banks is roughly equal - until you hit MD, at which point U.S. banks pay around 70% more.

Needless to say, the discrepancies have big implications for lifetime income. In both sales and trading, for example, your cumulative gross income is likely to be over £1m lower at a European than a U.S. bank.

European banks have advantages other than pay - they're generally seen as more gentle places to work than U.S. rivals. Next time a European house comes knocking, however, you may want to ask yourself whether you can afford to work there.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • jo
    31 January 2018

    another useless comparison. in the US you don't have access to any benefit, life is super expensive. You can make >100k and not be able to live in the city center

  • Th
    The comp guy
    31 January 2018

    Hi there
    Really like the article and the charts, but please verify the stated percentages. E.g. the European Research MD in the chart makes 310k versus 427k for the US peer. That would seem to be 38% more, not 70%. Thanks...

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