US banks targeted technology bonuses at key developers
The recent bonus round at US investment banks was punishing for investment bankers. It was also punishing for some salespeople and traders. For developers, however, it was mixed.
Banks don't comment on bonuses but recruiters and sources at US banks say was squeezed for some - often in senior roles, but that talented mid-level developers in particular were paid up on last year.
"Good people were paid," says one senior developer below MD level at JPMorgan. "Our pools were flat on last year."
At the senior end, there seems to have been more disappointment. A headhunter who places managing directors into technology jobs in London and New York City says bonuses for senior technology staff at Goldman and Morgan Stanley were down 5-10% on 2021. Peter Wagner, managing director of tech recruitment firm Affinity NY, says bonuses for technologists in banks "are down significantly."
Some areas appear to have suffered more than others. Another headhunter, speaking off the record, says some core strats at Goldman have had bonuses cut to 20% of salaries. Recent data from Levels.fyi backs shows a Goldman Sachs machine learning and AI engineering VP in New York reporting a bonus of $100k, over 50% of their annual salary. A VP engineer in back-end distributed systems in London on the other hand had a bonus of just 25%. At Morgan Stanley, only one recent posting on Levels.fyi shows a bonus above 50% of salary: a developer in New York with over two decades' experience.
JPMorgan technology insiders say that while bonuses weren't bad, London salaries haven't increased in line with inflation.
However, there are glimmers of generosity. On forum website Blind, one senior JPMorgan developer with nearly two decades' experience says he's earning $300k, including a $110k bonus that's up 10% on last year. Another headhunter says Wells Fargo has been unusually generous to technologists in the recent bonus round.
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