For bankers looking to take home more pay, the latest evidence suggests that they should go East - to Docklands! According to the latest stats released by the Office of The Deputy Prime Minister, annual salaries in Tower Hamlets (wherein Docklands resides) soared 19.5% in the year to April 2004. The average pay in Tower Hamlets of £66,300 has now overtaken the City proper (£64,178) for the first time.
In the meantime, a survey by recruiters Morgan McKinley has revealed that average salaries in London's financial district overall have increased 6.8% over the last year. The demand for financial services workers remains on the up. There are said to be currently 9,200 unfilled positions in the City and Docklands, up 130% from a year earlier. The survey also revealed that it is taking candidates 59 days on average to find a new job, 11 days less than 12 months ago.
And all this positive news of higher base salaries and vacant job positions is making many staff feel a whole lot more bullish about their bonus prospects this time round. But don't be fooled. Investment banks continue to struggle in what has been, in the last 5 months at least, a challenging environment. With major restructures currently in the works at CSFB, Commerzbank and Deutsche, staff everywhere should be realistic about their bonus expectations.
As usual, successful deal doers and revenue earners will do well this bonus round, but the vast majority of staff will be disappointed. JP Morgan President Jamie Dimon described his firm's third quarter profits as 'terrible'. Bonus levels this year are unlikely to be that bad, but the reality is that, for most, they won't be much better than last time out.