Britons back on top of City salaries league


UK job candidates have made a dramatic return to the top paying City banking jobs thanks to renewed demand for their trading skills and experience, according to new research carried out by City headhunters, Napier Scott.

Two years ago a Napier Scott survey showed that, on average, their generally better-educated European counterparts could expect to earn salary packages up to 25 per cent higher, but Napier Scott's latest survey of almost 16,000 front office candidates with a minimum of two years experience on its books reveals the scale of the change and the reasons for it.

Across the board, the average UK national has seen his/her salary fall by five per cent in the past two years, and now earns around £159,000 in salary and bonus, down from £167,000 in 2001. But a dramatic 25 per cent fall in earnings for their European counterparts in the City has taken their average down from £212,000 to £157,000.

Shaun Springer, CEO of Napier Scott, says: "Two years ago top City jobs were dominated by overseas staff, however, today that situation has been dramatically changed as traditional trading skills have become more in demand, albeit involving more sophisticated financial products.

"We have seen a big increase in demand for fixed income, credit and derivative traders and structurers," he added, "and these roles are being filled predominately by UK candidates, and these are now the top earners. Two years ago technical sales positions commanded the highest earnings."

The latest survey also shows that UK nationals have made considerable progress in closing the language gap between them and their European candidates. Whereas in 2001 less than one in ten UK candidates boasted a second language that figure has improved to almost one in four today.

Similarly, the number of UK candidates with a Masters degree is now nearly on a par with European candidates, having shot up from only 3 per cent in 2001 to 20 per cent today while the figure for European candidates with Masters has dropped from 41 per cent to 27 per cent over the same period.

Shaun Springer added that traditional trading skills have become more in demand, albeit involving more sophisticated financial products, while sales have experienced cut backs and analyst jobs have virtually halved.

Overall, Springer said, "we are finding that new UK candidates are better educated, more have been to university and stayed longer, and more are fluent in foreign languages."