A City columnist has noted that starting salaries at some of the world’s biggest banks – which once offered £35,000 as standard and £60,000 for the brightest sparks – have dropped to as little as £20,000. The reason? You guys are so desperate to find jobs, you’ll work for anything you’re offered.

In Tuesday’s Evening Standard, journalist Simon English wrote about a recent encounter with a City boss on a trading floor:

The 10 guys he has just signed on are red hot. Oxford. Harvard. The Sorbonne. Brains quicker than Usain Bolt. PhDs in being electric. Scary smart. I’m waiting for the punchline, and he’s rolling his eyes impatiently. “You’re supposed to ask me what we are paying them.”

What are you paying them?

“20 grand.”

A month?

“Nope. Annually. And a guaranteed no bonus. This year anyway, after that we’ll see. They might be able to move off their mate’s living-room floor by 2015.” He’s chuckling. Enjoying this more than is seemly.

For the trading boss, that he can pick up such talent so cheaply is clearly a result. At £20k, there’s not much risk to him or his firm even if they can’t cut it. For his more experienced staff, it’s a worrying development. No pay rises this year, chaps – geniuses are going cheap.

According to English:

…these starting salaries are a telling sign of the state of play. A few years ago, a beginner City salary for unremarkable graduates was about £35k. For true maths whizzes with PhDs, it was more like £50k or £60k, with the promise of much more very quickly.

My trader boss admits to being shocked by the number and the quality of the applicants he is now getting for jobs paying an amount of money that makes London barely livable.

While £20,000 is not a terrible graduate salary – many Graduate Foggers are earning far less – we agree that it is a worrying sign of the times. The official stats from the Association of Graduate Recruiters insists that the average graduate starting salary is £26,000 (yes, really). But for how much longer, if even the big banks have started using graduates’ desperation to pick up cheaply what they used to have to pay good money for?

Is it worrying that previously well-paid graduate jobs now pay just £20,000? What does that mean for graduates in industries where staff have always been less well-rewarded? What are you earning – and do you

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap