Bonus/Hiring Watch '11: Wash U. Waiting To Catch A Break

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The good news: bank bonuses are going to be down by a lot this year, upwards of 40 percent down. If you are on the receiving end of one of these slimmed-down packages, congratulations! It (probably) means management really likes you, as evidenced by letting you keep your job,** unlike your colleagues who were replaced by some low-cost business student pre-schoolers or potted plants. 

Bonuses...are on track to plunge 35% to 40%, on average, according to the forecast by Options Group, an executive search and consulting firm. Pay is likely to be hardest hit in areas such as fixed income, which comprises trading in bonds, currencies and commodities. An investment-grade-bond trader who is a managing director at a top securities firm is likely to make $1.7 million to $1.8 million in 2011, according to the study. That is down from $2.9 million, said Options Group managing partner Michael Karp. The company compiles its annual report using surveys of industry professionals and conversations with executives. At Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG, bankers and traders expect year-end bonuses to be far lower than they have been in the past two years because revenues are sharply down, with clients doing little trading and few deals. Both firms have been cutting costs and laying off staff, as have many rivals...Compensation declines will be broad-based. In equities, pay is expected to shrink 29% from a year earlier, while investment bankers are expected to take a 14% haircut. The only group likely to hear good news on the pay front will be wealth-management employees, who could see compensation climb as much as 8%, due to higher assets and greater market share among the major brokerage firms.

With many firms trying to reduce pay by cutting highly paid staff, business students intent on a Wall Street career are continuing to find opportunities, although some schools are reporting a slowdown in interviews and less-robust hiring than before the 2008 crisis. "There doesn't seem to be the retraction anticipated with the volatility in the markets," said Mark Brostoff, director of the career center at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

Wall Street Pay Hits A Wall [WSJ]

**Alternatively, it could be your bonus/severance pay, in which case, feel free to let management know the fish are coming with you.

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