Most Junior Bankers Feel ‘Disappointment’ With Pay, Aspire to Buyout Jobs

Junior investment bankers to Wall Street: Take this job and shove it.

While young bankers said they enjoy their jobs, most are dissatisfied with pay and hope to leave the field, with almost 60 percent saying they want to work in private equity, according to a survey released yesterday by headhunting firm Capstone Partnership.

“It’s been a rough couple of years for them,” Rik Kopelan, managing partner at New York-based Capstone, said in a phone interview. “Fewer and fewer plan on making it a career, because they’re working these long hours and not getting paid as well as they were.”

One investment banker who participated in the survey described a breach of the “tacit understanding” that he or she would be well compensated. Considering “the sacrifice I make in my personal life (100-hour work weeks, canceled vacations, etc.), this business has to be more rewarding,” the person said, according to Capstone.

That banker isn’t alone. Of about 2,000 associates and vice presidents in their first three years, 67 percent identified “disappointment with compensation” as one of the biggest reasons to leave the field. Almost the same percentage described their jobs as “satisfactory,” according to Kopelan.

More than 80 percent said they don’t believe that their compensation is mainly predicated on performance. Instead, Kopelan said, young investment bankers worry that it’s “based on the profitability of the firm, based on how powerful the group heads were, based on capricious things.”

Last year, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Wall Street paid out $20.8 billion in cash bonuses, instead of the $22.5 billion a year earlier.

Kopelan said that his firm has recently placed people at Morgan Stanley (MS), JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc (BARC) and UBS AG. (UBSN)

To contact the reporter on this story: Max Abelson in New York at mabelson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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