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Why your daughter at Goldman Sachs should not worry about her trading bonus

There was much “debate” and “discussion” on eFinancialCareers after a concerned mother wrote to us about the state of her daughter’s (a trader at Goldman Sachs) bonus.

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The mother, quite rightly, did not give us the exact number her daughter checked into her account, but the general point – that bank juniors feel ripped off – is a common one.

The good news, however, is that while you may initially feel underpaid relative to expectations in a sales and trading job, things quickly improve. Our pre-Christmas survey of the bonus expectations, which had 2,000 responses, suggests that within a few years compensation increases dramatically.

The chart above shows compensation expectations for 2023 and actuals for 2022. In 2022, the average trader could expect an increase of around 150% every five years until he/she reached age 35, when things tapered off significantly. Thereafter, compensation plateaued and oscillated slightly for the rest of their career.

Our figures are industry-wide but they seem like a good sign for the disgruntled Goldman daughter in her mid-20s – there’s still ten years of her bonus climbing to go.

Of course, if the money still isn’t good enough, there are other options. Top traders often end up at hedge funds, to ply their trade with a higher cut of the profit they’ve generated ending up in their pockets. Commodities trading houses pay remarkably well, too, with Trafigura paying $4.2m per head to its partners in the year ending September 2023.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS, Whatsapp or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Click here to fill in our anonymous form, or email editortips@efinancialcareers.com. Signal also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

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AUTHORZeno Toulon
  • Sh
    SharkBait
    7 February 2024

    Well, as you can see the bonuses have been discounted by more than 50% over time... With all the downside that banking has, 100k is far from "worth it".

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