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Bonus/Layoffs Watch '11: European Bankers May Be Paid In Handshakes, New Drachmas

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And they'll be the lucky ones. This may have something to do with a Eurozone financial meltdown but let's not neglect the role of 100% base-salary raises for MDs in ruining everyone else's year:

Jonathan Nicholson, managing director of Astbury Marsden, a London executive-search firm, said more job losses are imminent.

“There are fewer bonuses to play with than ever before,” Nicholson said. “The fixed costs are now about 70 percent to 80 percent of overall total compensation, so you have less to play with the bonus pool than ever before. The only material way to make a difference in flexing costs is to cut jobs.” ...

The rise in fixed costs is driven by an increase in base salaries after European regulators, including those in the U.K. and France, restricted when and in what form bankers can be paid. The average base salary of a managing director at a global investment bank in London surged to between 300,000 pounds ($474,480) and 500,000 pounds from 175,000 pounds to 250,000 pounds three years ago, said Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of Kennedy Group, a London-based search firm.

More Job Cuts Loom for EU Banks With Fixed Pay [Bloomberg]