Bankers take the money and run

2006

If you thought that a fat bonus cheque can buy the loyalty of your employees, think again. A new survey suggests that more than half of those working in London's financial services sector are planning to look for a new job once they have received their annual bonuses.

Despite one of the biggest bonus rounds of recent years, a survey by recruitment firm The Blomfield Group found that almost six out of 10 (57 per cent) of London's bankers are either "certain" or "very likely" to change jobs within the next six months.

Almost a quarter more – 22 per cent – said it was "possible" that they would be moving on in the near future.

It is a similar story in Ireland, where six out of 10 (61 per cent) indicated that they were planning to change jobs. In the Scotland, the proportion was 53 per cent.

Figures from another recruiter, Morgan McKinley, have suggested that seven out of 10 City employees expect their 2005/2006 bonus to be higher than they were in 2004 – with a quarter hoping to receive double what they did last year.

But with a buoyant job market and growing skills shortages, Blomfield Group says that any notions of loyalty have been replaced by a "take the money and run" attitude among high-flyers who are acutely aware that their skills are in high demand.

Banks where payouts have been lower than expected could face major retention headaches, with many staff at Dresdner Bank believed to be particularly disappointed with their bonuses for the last year.

Others have tried to stamp down on senior staff defecting by increasing notice periods or deferring a proportion of bonus payouts.

But as Blomfield's Tara Ricks pointed out, in a candidate's market, any pent-up desire fro change from staff who have been waiting to get their bonus is likely to explode over the next few months.

"On average, there are only eight candidate applications for every 10 jobs available," she said. "There are particular candidate shortages in banking operations, insurance, life and pensions and in investment banking, sales and trading."

The number of new jobs advertised in financial services across the UK and Ireland has almost doubled from 12,625 in December to 23,875 in January, she added.