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Even with the Turmoil, Wall Street Still Expects Their Bonuses

According to survey respondents, 36% expect a higher bonus this year than last

NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Even with the market chaos and government bailouts, more than two-thirds of Wall Street professionals are still expecting a bonus this year, and 36% are expecting a bigger bonus than last year.

These are some of the results of an October survey of U.S. financial services professionals following the news of the federal bailout and the initial plunge in the stock market. The survey was conducted by eFinancialCareers and more than 1,300 employed U.S. financial services professionals responded.

While the survey results would seem to run contrary to the current economy, chaotic markets, bank failures, and unprecedented government intervention, the reality is that for many on Wall Street, they will receive bonuses this year, as even institutions that are suffering will reward professionals.

To be sure, among those expecting bonuses this year, most anticipate the increase will be 10% or less over last year. But a minority -- 10% -- expect this year's bonus to be at least 33% above last year. Another 31% of U.S. financial services professionals expect this year's payout to be less than 2007, while 34% expect no bonus at all.

"While the bonus pool will certainly be down substantially this year, bonuses will still be paid to those individuals who generated revenue for their institutions," said John Benson, founder and CEO of "For those who performed, the failure to receive a bonus may make them receptive to offers from other employers and banks cannot afford to lose their top performers right now."

Not surprisingly given their role, those holding front office jobs were the most optimistic, with 71% expecting a 2008 bonus, while in the back office just over half (56%) expect a payout.

Current State of Mind

The turmoil on Wall Street is reflected in the attitudes of professionals currently employed. More than two-thirds (68%) of employed financial services professionals are either open to changing jobs or actively looking. Another 19% would love to switch jobs, but for now consider themselves playing it safe by staying put. Only 14% of respondents indicated that they are very happy and not looking to move.

In fact, not only are they ready to change jobs, the survey results point to only a lukewarm desire to stay on Wall Street. 71% of respondents said they would consider a job opportunity outside of financial services. The positions most often mentioned as desirable: corporate development or strategy and management consulting.

"While the desire to jump ship may be high, financial services professionals should give serious consideration to how they will potentially transfer their skills to other industries," noted Mr. Benson. "Those who can survive this downturn on Wall Street will be well positioned as leaders when the cycle turns again."

eFinancialCareers currently lists more than 1,800 jobs nationwide for financial services professionals and more than 10,000 positions worldwide.

Survey Methodology

The eFinancialCareers Bonus Survey was administered online October 13 - October 21, 2008 with more than 1,300 registered U.S. eFinancialCareers users responding. Registered users had to indicate that they were currently employed to be included in the survey results. Registered users were invited to participate in the survey through e-mail.

Table 1: What do you expect to happen to your bonus this year compared to last year?

                 51%+ more        7%
               33-50% more        3%
               11-30% more        6%
                0-10% more       20%
                1-10% less        7%
               11-30% less        8%
               31-50% less        7%
                 51%+ less        8%
      I will have no bonus       34%

Table 2: What do you expect to happen to your bonus this year compared to last year?

(summary results)

                                 Front      Back
                                 Office    Office
                    Higher         37%       31%
                     Lower         34%       24%
      I will have no bonus         29%       44%

Table 3: Which of the following best describes your current situation related to job searching, I am...

    Unhappy with my job and looking to change as soon
     as possible.                                            21%
    Would love to switch jobs, but staying put for now
     to play it safe.                                        19%
    My job is fine, but I'd be open to a better
     opportunity.                                            32%
    Looking for a job due to concern of being
     eliminated in light of market conditions.               14%
    Very happy with my job and not looking to move.          14%

Table 4: Would you consider making a career change outside the financial services industry?

       Yes      71%
        No      29%

About eFinancialCareers

eFinancialCareers, a Dice Holdings, Inc. company, is the leading global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries. The website provides financial services professionals with job opportunities, job market news and analysis, salary surveys and career advice. Recruiters and employers can post jobs targeting specific sectors within the financial services industry, both buy-side and sell-side, and can search the resume database for highly qualified and specialized professionals. eFinancialCareers has a network of co-branded career sites with industry-leading trade publications and offers local websites in 18 markets and five languages primarily across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.