Banking Pay By Sector, Role & Region

Wall Street pay

You can pursue many paths in banking. Looking to mitigate threats so your institution stays in the black? That’s risk management. Enjoy crunching numbers over and over behind the scenes? Welcome to mergers and acquisitions! Looking to cash a fat paycheck and live the good life? Take your pick: Hedge funds, equities sales, and credit sales.

Whether you’re a Bloomberg savant or PowerPoint patron, banking has something for everyone. Question is, how much money can you earn in a particular sector – and will you be happy working in it?

That’s where eFinancialCareers comes into play. A platform designed to connect banking talent with top financial institutions, eFinancialCareers released its 2024 Financial Services Compensation Survey on April 9. Conducted in February and March with 6,000 banking executives worldwide, the compensation survey reveals how much bankers can expect to earn by sector, role, and location. Even more, the eFinancialCareers survey reveals just how many hours bankers work in various sectors – and how satisfied they are with their pay with specific institutions.

The overall takeaway? “With the exception of Equity Capital Markets (ECM), dealmaking revenues stagnated in 2023 on the back of an already weak year,” according to the report. “In most cases, markets revenues failed to compensate.”

Or, to borrow the sentiments of a London-based M&A analyst: “Underpaid to the street,” but paid well regardless.”


According to eFinancialCareers data, the global average salary was $187,691 between the buy and sell sides, though the buy side enjoyed a slight advantage in annual base ($190,379 vs. $182,016). However, the sell side produced better bonuses ($160,986 vs. $127,945) – a 7.2% bump on the sell side over the previous year (and a 3.7% increase on the buy side).  As a whole, average total compensation came to $326,146 in 2023.

Among the 17 sectors measured by eFinancialCareers, eight paid $200K or more in average base salary. They were led by Macro Sales and Trading ($262,500) and Equities Sales and Trading ($223,109). When it comes to average bonus in 2023, Hedge Funds topped all comers with a $265,972 average, followed by Macro Sales and Trading ($222,018). By the same token, the biggest growth in bonus came in Asset Management with a 27.4% surge in just one year. In contrast, Compliance departments experienced a 21.4% drop in bonus pay between 2022 and 2023. Combining 2023 pay and bonus, Hedge Funds edged out Macro Sales and Trading by a $486,990-to-$484,518 margin as the highest-paying sector.

Despite the high pay, hedge funds were a mixed bag according to the 2024 Financial Services Compensation Survey. It noted that large funds like Citadel and Millennium produced double-digit returns – sometimes doubling smaller funds. That said, there was one sector that eFinancialCareers pointed to for having “one of its worst years on record”: Private Equity.

“Firms struggled to allocate capital and exit existing investments. EY estimates that private equity exits declined 28% in 2023 versus 2022, and follow-on funds in which stakes are sold at a discount became increasingly popular.”

That doesn’t mean every sector suffered in 2023, the report adds. “Our data showed that average bonuses for all financial services professionals were up by less than 5% between 2022 and 2023. Research bonuses were up 20%, while technologists, DCM bankers and operations professionals achieved 16% rises.”


Pay improvements were also dependent on roles. In Investment Banking, analysts enjoyed an 8.2% bump in bonus pay in 2023, which resulted in total average pay of $184,269. Vice presidents and managing directors also reported bonuses increasing by 5.3% and 6.1% respectively. Overall, Investment Banking managing directors averaged $935,938 last year. That total was $982,292 for managing directors in the Sales and Trading sector (though bonuses here dropped by 6% last year). In fact, associate bonuses plummeted by 12.2% in Sales and Trading last year – a surprise considering the 10.4% bump received by their vice president counterparts.

As noted earlier, Private Equity bore the brunt of a disappointing year. Associate bonuses nose-dived by 21.9% against 2022 — and the declines were 27.5% and 18.10% at the vice president and director levels (though managing directors reported a 17.2% increase in bonus pay). In Hedge Funds – where managing directors earned less overall than counterparts in Sales and Trading and Investment Banking sectors – the fluctuations ran from a 30.8% rise in bonus pay among associates to a 10.10% fall off for vice presidents. As a whole, Hedge Fund directors and managing directors hauled in a respective $617,210 and $776,563 in total pay in 2023.

Location also plays a part in compensation. For bankers looking to maximize their earnings, the United States is the best place to be – at least to start. Here, analysts raked in an average $232,112 between base and bonus according to eFinancialCareers. That’s more than double the analyst pay in Asia ($110,938) and quite higher than either continental Europe ($127,998) or the United Kingdom ($148,283). Ever more, there remains a pay gap between the United States and the rest of the world from associate to vice president to director levels. At the managing director level, however, the tables turn in favor of regions outside the United States. In both Asia ($797,222) and the United Kingdom ($942,147), managing directors earn more than their American counterparts ($734,337) in total pay.

At a more granular level, American analyst bonuses improved by 20.2% over the previous year – the highest growth in any rank or region outside of Europe. In 2023, European analysts cashed in bonuses that were up 48.9% above the previous year. Not surprisingly, according to the eFinancialCareers report, European analyst bonuses stemmed from holding down costs elsewhere.

“This can be attributed to the “Brexit effect” as US banks base some junior staff in Paris, Frankfurt and Milan instead of London. Local compensation is increasing as a result.”


Down years and stagnant pay produce restless bankers. This sentiment is reflected in eFinancalCareers’ pay satisfaction survey. Here, just Hedge Fund respondents scored 50% or better in their satisfaction with compensation. Among these respondents, 59.1% were content with pay – a far cry from the next-highest sectors, Operations at 38.5% and Private Equity at 37.6%. At the bottom, you’ll find the Compliance and Risk sectors, whose satisfaction rates came in at 12.5% and 18.5% respectively.

This dynamic repeated itself, to an extent, when the questions turned to their employers. At Banco Santander, 70.8% of respondents were satisfied with their compensation. That number dipped to 39.4% with second-place Bank of America and 35.8% at third-place Goldman Sachs. The lowest rate? That belonged to the UBS Group at 19.3% — just 1.2 points below Morgan Stanley.

“UBS rescued Credit Suisse in 2023, putting significant pressure on its ability to pay both new and existing staff,” according to the 2024 Financial Services Compensation Survey. “One London-based credit sales & trading analyst for UBS said his bonus was just a quarter of the market rate. Another UBS professional, a director in New York, said that he had not received “a real raise” in 5 years. He noted that a 40% pay increase would make him feel better about things.”

However, one NatWest Credit Sales and Trading managing director put pay in perspective. He told eFinancialCareers that his pay may not match competitors, it was pretty fair “versus society as a whole.”

Financial Times 2023 MBA ranking


And he is probably working less too. Last year, NatWest staff clocked in 52.3 hours per week, down from the 53.6 hours they worked during the previous year. Among the 15 banks surveyed by eFinancialCareers, 10 had respondents who reported fewer working hours than the previous year. This included the UBS Group, which saw a 3.4% drop (52.0 to 50.3 hours). SocGen (Société Générale) reports the lowest average weekly hours at 45.8, followed by William Blair (48.3) and Standard Chartered Bank (48.6). In contrast, Deutsche Bank employees work the most at 55.9 hours per week (which is down 1.6%).

When it comes to work hours, take out SocGen and the spread from top-to-bottom is roughly 7.5 hours. That span is far wider when it comes to hours and sectors. Commodities Sales and Trading work the least at 41.7 hours per week. Operations comes in as the runner-up at 43.8 hours. At the high end, you’ll find Mergers & Acquisitions at 67.1 hours, followed by Equity Capital Markets at 64.3 hours (which actually saw a 5.9% drop in work hours in 2023).

Despite the long hours, M&A doesn’t necessarily translate to the highest-paying jobs in terms of per-hour earnings. According to eFinancialCareers data, M&A respondents made $108.46 per hour – lower than nine other sectors. Hedge Fund staff collected the most hourly pay at $198. Macro Sales and Trading – a 51.9-hour-a-week gig – scored $179.52 an hour. While Commodities Sales and Trading reaped $170.00 an hour, they only worked a normal 41.7 hours per week. At the bottom end, Compliance averaged $86.22 per hour, followed by Risk ($91.41) and Technology ($94.14).

While hours are down for the most part, the benefits haven’t necessarily been shared equally. M&A is a case in point according to the eFinancialCareers report.

“In 2023, our survey suggests that equity researchers enjoyed compensation per hour higher than M&A bankers. As pay per hour has fallen, M&A bankers are complaining. “The number of hours worked, and the complexity of assignments, warrants higher compensation,” said one M&A associate working for Evercore in the US.”

Wondering how much you can earn in your sector or region or how many hours your peers are working? Click on the links below for detailed data from the 2024 Financial Services Compensation Survey from eFinancialCareers.





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