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Banking pay gets weird after 40

The older you get, the more money you make. Simple, right?

Eh – not really. Our 2024 financial services salary and bonus report offers an interesting insight into the way your compensation changes as you age into your banking career.

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Our report was based on the over 6,000 responses we received to our salary & bonus survey. We had respondents from every major financial institution (including banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds) in every major financial center (including New York, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore). 

(We're still having problems displaying charts on mobile, so please view this on a desktop for the moment).

Our data showed that there was a clear geographical divide in how your compensation (salary and bonus) changes. UK bankers, for instance, saw their pay increase significantly until the age of 30. After that, the amount they earned plateaued between $290k and $315k until age 50, at which point it shot up again.

US bankers, as well as bankers based in APAC, had similar trajectories: their total compensation increased steadily until a certain age range (early 40’s and late 40’s, respectively) before declining again. It’s probably safe to assume that this is the age most bank staff in revenue-generating roles retire, leaving behind their middle- and back- office colleagues to report their lower earnings.

European bankers have the most curious compensation trajectories of all. Europeans in their late 20s reported total compensation higher than not just their compatriots in their early 20s, but also those in their 30s. It’s only when a European banker reaches their 40s that they earn more than they did in their late 20s. They, like UK-based bankers, also earn the most when they hit 50+, too.

What does this mean for your banking career? As much as we’d like to suggest you bounce around the world to maximise your lifetime earnings potential, it’s much simpler: move to the US, where everyone under 50 earns the most money, and “retire” in the UK, where those over 50 earn the most. As a bonus, you’ll also be working fewer hours per week (49.1, on average) than you will in the US – although much more than you will in Europe (46.6) or APAC (43.4).

Our 2024 financial services salary & bonus report is available for download now on this page.

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 editortips@efinancialcareers.com. 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.)

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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