Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

Bankers on TikTok boast of earning £4m. Traders & developers are more modest

Is your salary fair? Ask your colleagues. Too afraid to? Ask a stranger.

Get Morning Coffee  in your inbox. Sign up here

The ever-present TikTok trend of waving a microphone in some random person’s face and asking them personal questions is, seemingly, perennial. Luckily, it’s a useful way to benchmark your pay, especially given how popular the people asking the questions can get.

We took a look at some of the videos posted by TikTok star Aydan Al-Saad, who tours the City of London and elsewhere asking people who much they earn. Bear in mind that most of the people in the videos below did not specify their compensation breakdown, preferring to give a single figure for what they "made".

The corporate loan expert who made £4m ($5.1m) in his best year in London

The highest-earning person in the Al-Saad videos that we saw was Terry Pritchard, CEO of Charter HCP, a commercial loan brokerage. Pritchard told Al-Saad earlier this month that his best-performing year earned him £4m ($5m), presumably as a bonus.

“I’m very good at what I do,” Pritchard said. Aside from his job, which he described as being an “investment banker”, Pritchard noted that he unwinds by disassembling and re-assembling watches, as well as writing comedy. Money quote: “I’ve never lost anyone any money.”

The oil trader who made $150k+ a year in Dubai

In Dubai last month, Al-Saad spoke to an oil trader with a year and a half of experience. The young trader earned $150k a year as a salary in the city and noted that his bonus was anywhere between 10 and 1,000% of salary. “Anything that has a bonus aspect to it,” he noted, “you’ll be paid a lot fairer”.

Initially a retail crypto trader aged 16, he moved to “a few institutional places” in adulthood. Mentioned slightly into the video is that his dad worked in a bank, although, admittedly, not as a trader – he was an IT guy.

The software engineer who made up to £180k a year in London

Al-Saad also spoke to a software engineer in London in May, working in financial services. The third-year developer said that she made “between £140k and £180k” and that she had received a raise every year since starting. Her advice to young women seeking a career in financial engineering is to not be afraid to do it.

The management consultant who made up to £120k a year in London

Also in London, in May, Al-Saad spoke to a management consultant with “just” four to five years of experience. The consultant not only said that she “feels like [she’s] learning something new every day”, but also that she receives a salary in the range of £70k to £120k. Her typical work day is from 8am to 10pm, however, so it might not be the best lifestyle on the list.

The portfolio analyst who made £65k a year in London

In London in January, Al-Saad spoke to an asset management portfolio analyst with four and a half years' experience who said that she enjoyed working with her team more than any of the other perks - although she also noted that her £65k pay package made her "fairly paid", by her own estimation.

Her advice to anyone seeking a similar role in finance, especially with a seemingly unrelated degree (she studied engineering) was to stay as up to date as possible on current events, and to do as many internships as you can.

The (junior) investment banker who made £85k a year in London

Another highlight was a second-year investment banking analyst that Al-Saad spoke to in London, also in January, who was earning £85k a year base. She also earned between 50 and 100% as a bonus, by her own admission. 

That’s very good, even by investment banking standards, with those numbers being well above what most banks are offering people of similar experience in London, and firmly in the domain of what boutiques pay. 

The fintech leader and model who made £150k a year in London

Last in the finance cohort, but most certainly not least, was a 55-year-old fintech “leader” with 30 years of experience that Al-Saad interviewed in January. Although he described fintech as his “grown up” job, he also worked as a model. He noted that, over the years, he’s usually been underpaid or overpaid, which on aggregate meant fairly paid. His advice for fintech aspirants was to be any given team’s “go-to” person, as opposed to just the “dead wood” making up numbers.

The software engineer who made over £170k a year in Dubai

In Dubai this month, Al-Saad spoke to a 15-year veteran of software engineering earning 800k UAE Dirham (equivalent to around £172k or $218k). He was one of the best paid technologists Al-Saad interviewed, especially given the Emirate’s laissez-faire relationship with tax. His advice for an aspiring software engineer was to be patient, and to love technology.

The software engineer who made £56k a year in London

Not all software engineers are so well paid, however.

In London, in May, Al-Saad spoke to an engineer who started his career as a game designer and earned only a third (£56k) of what the Dubai developer did at mid-level. He said that he was anticipating a significant promotion, however, which would bring him to £75k. His career advice was to work on your skills as an engineer every day (or at least don’t take extended periods away from it) and to understand that it’s a tool and a means to an end as opposed to a skill that exists for its own sake.

The software engineer who made £98k a year in London

One software engineer that Al-Saad interviewed in London in November of last year earned £98k a year and, rather curiously, thought he was overpaid. However, he did also think the field in general was overpaid. Someone with his level of software engineering experience in the United States earns approximately $180k, someone in the comments pointed out.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS, Whatsapp or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Click here to fill in our anonymous form, or email Signal also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORZeno Toulon Reporter

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Articles
Recommended Jobs
Carisbrook Partners
G10 STIR FX Trader
Carisbrook Partners
London, United Kingdom
Deutsche Bank
Trader - Vice President
Deutsche Bank
New York, United States
Quantitative Market Analyst
London, United Kingdom

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.