Survey: Hedgies Expecting Big Bonuses In 2011

Oct 20 2011 | 10:23am ET

Wall Street’s bonus expectations remain high for 2011, especially those of employees in hedge funds, boutique banks and professional services firms, according to a new survey by the job search site eFinancialCareers.com.

A full 62% of the Wall Street employees surveyed expect their bonuses this year will be higher than or the same as their 2010 bonuses. This is down slightly from 71% in 2010, a decline attributed to lower expectations on the part of employees of large banks, 38% of whom expect bonus payouts to decrease this year, compared to 36% that expect higher payouts. 

Personal performance (45%) and firm performance (22%) are the primary drivers of bonus optimism.

Among the 30% of respondents who expect less in their pay packet this December, firm performance (40%) and market conditions (35%) were the most-cited primary causes.

"If managing financial markets is Wall Street science, then managing professionals' expectations on compensation is one of Wall Street's premier arts," said Constance Melrose, managing director, eFinancialCareers North America. "Even amid an atmosphere of slower recruitment activity and targeted layoffs, Wall Street will continue to be a pay-for-performance culture.  Firms need to be resolute in taking care of their best in class employees, as they will always have opportunities to make a career move if they feel disenchanted."

The pollsters say one response has remained almost entirely constant from year to year: the majority of Wall Street professionals (59% in 2011, versus 61% in 2010) say money, while important, isn't the most important reason why they work in the financial markets. The remainder (39%, versus 37% last year) say compensation is the most important reason to work on Wall Street. Only 2% said compensation was of no importance. 

The 2011 eFinancialCareers Bonus Expectations Survey took place in the United States between September 20 and October 3, 2011 with 1,098 currently employed financial markets professionals responding.  Of those respondents, 53% work in the front office, 25% in the middle office and 22% in the back office.


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