Scarce supply buoys pay for bank juniors

BANKS which dramatically cut back their graduate and lower-level recruitment programmes in the depths of the crisis are now suffering from an acute shortage of junior talent, pushing salaries for successful applicants up by 12 per cent over the past year.

Average base salaries for City workers at assistant vice president level – typically those with around three or four years’ experience – shot up from £62,945 to £70,480 in the past 12 months, according to a survey by financial services recruiter Astbury Marsden.

The increase comes primarily courtesy of an excess of demand from banks and financial institutions which now find themselves with a lack of skilled workers at analyst and assistant vice president level, having cut back on recruitment to save costs in the recession.

However, Astbury Marsden managing director Jonathan Nicholson said a lack of supply had also impacted junior City salaries, with more graduates than ever before eschewing the finance industry due to uncertainty over regulation and pay and the populist backlash against the banks.

“Banking is not the foolproof move it used to be,” he warned.

Rising junior salary levels at financial institutions is a sign that increases at more senior levels are eventually being passed down the food chain.

More senior staff in investment banks have seen their average basic salary jump by between 20 and 50 per cent over the past year, though much of the increase comes down to a shift away from bonuses and towards fixed pay. Many of the banks reacted to political pressure to curb discretionary remuneration by hiking salaries in order to retain key staff.