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Wall Street Salaries Rose in 2011 for Most Workers, Survey Finds

Buybacks Lowest Since 2009 as U.S. CEOs Push Up Capital Spending
A pedestrian walks past the Wall Street street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Most Wall Street employees got higher salaries in 2011, with the biggest bumps going to those at boutique banks and alternative asset managers, according to a survey by eFinancialCareers.com.

The online survey of 2,860 financial professionals found that 54 percent received salary increases -- excluding bonus -- and 40 percent reported no change from 2010, according to an e-mailed description of the survey’s findings. Workers at so-called bulge-bracket banks got an average increase of 3 percent, compared with a 14 percent gain for people at boutique banks and a 13 percent raise for those at fund managers.

When year-end bonuses were included, average pay last year fell for workers at companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank amid declining revenue. As year-end bonuses dropped, some banks raised base salaries that in past years contributed just a fraction of pay for senior employees.

“Historically it’s always been about bonus, and now we’re seeing that salary is another tool that firms have,” Constance Melrose, managing director of eFinancialCareers North America, said in a phone interview. “The less variable component has become more important.”

Melrose didn’t identify the survey respondents’ employers. Bulge-bracket banks include large diversified lenders and investment banks, and boutique banks are smaller, specialized advisory firms, she said. Alternative asset managers typically are hedge funds, Melrose said.

Satisfaction Gauge

The survey, conducted Jan. 2 through Feb. 16, found that 12 percent of respondents were “very satisfied” and 35 percent were “somewhat satisfied” with their 2011 salaries. Thirty-seven percent reported being “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied,” down from 38 percent a year earlier.

While 35 percent of respondents said they plan to change firms this year, 55 percent said that a higher salary would persuade them to stay, according to eFinancialCareers, a unit of New York-based Dice Holdings Inc.

“When you ask ‘What would it take for you to stay?’ the No. 1 thing is salary,” Melrose said.

A survey released by eFinancialCareers in February found that more than half of Wall Street employees said their year-end bonus met or exceeded their expectations.

The latest survey, conducted by e-mail, started with 7,194 people and was pared to 3,819 to exclude certain respondents, including those who were students or unemployed. Of those who remained, 2,860 provided salary information, according to eFinancialCareers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net

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

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