Playing for high stakes, investment bankers have settled on their technique. The trick, according to numbers from salary benchmarking site Emolument.com? Look unhappy.
In fact, look furious.
If nobody knows how much their colleagues have been paid, then it is hard to know whether your bonus is good or not. If you look pleased, then the boss knows they don’t need to pay you more next time. But if you are visibly distressed, then they might have to cough up a bit more to keep you next year.
Emolument’s data show BNP Paribas’ staff are best at playing this game – just 15 per cent reported they are happy with their bonuses, while 58 per cent said they are paid too little.
By contrast Morgan Stanley’s bankers are more upbeat, with 47 per cent saying they are happy with their bonuses. Perhaps they got such a big raise they couldn’t hide their delight?
Meanwhile JP Morgan staff play their cards close to their chests, with 40 per cent claiming to be unsure how to feel.
Senior staff are better at this than new workers – 49 per cent of managing directors say they are unhappy, versus 42 per cent of associates.
“Lack of pay transparency fosters paranoia and misconceptions,” said a distinctly downbeat Thomas Drewry, Emolument.com’s chief executive.