The jobs that pay the biggest bonuses

Jobs with the biggest bonuses
Jobs with the biggest bonuses

Last month, prime minister Theresa May promised to crack down on big City bonuses, saying she planned to give shareholders the power to block pay packages that they think are undeserved.

It's not before time, with figures showing that the UK's top bankers received a whopping £618,000 in bonus pay in 2016, compared to £300,000 last year.

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And it seems that even this wasn't enough for them, with more than half of those interviewed by employment data website Emolument saying they were either unhappy about the level of their bonus or unsure about how to feel.

In fact, though, most bankers don't receive anything like this amount, and they don't top a list of the highest UK bonuses compiled by jobs website Glassdoor.

That honour goes to global account managers, who receive, on average, £37,000 - certainly not to be sniffed at, but not a sum that will put you in the market for a private jet.

They are followed by partners and chief operating officers, who receive bonuses of £33,500 and £31,500 respectively.

"People traditionally think that those working in finance earn the biggest bonuses. Whilst finance roles such as portfolio managers, traders and brokers take five of the top ten spots, it's interesting that they are nearer the bottom of our list," says Diarmuid Russell, head of international at Glassdoor.

"The earning potential of top sales professional is evident, with global account managers taking top billing, and of course senior workers such as CEOs and COOs with greater experience and qualifications also doing well."

However, there are plenty of lower-grade jobs where employees can expect a bonus. These include bartenders, who apparently receive a median bonus of £7,200, and customer care executives, who get a median bonus of £1,000.

Bonuses can be calculated in different ways. The most usual method is to use a formula which may include the number and size of deals completed, placings made and the employer's overall financial position. It can also include factors such as an employee's attendance figures.

More rarely, a bonus is fixed at a set amount of cash or shares; sometimes, there's a floor level, with anything above that depending directly on performance. Sometimes, a 'pool' system is used, with members of each department sharing the cash.

Sometimes, they are discretionary, meaning that employers can change their minds - although they are still required to be fair. Sometimes they require the employee to stay with the firm for several years. And they are always taxable, at the same rate as your general pay.

When negotiating a salary package, it's also worth remembering that bonuses tend to be paid out as a lump sum once during the year. According to Glassdoor, most are given in December, with the second most popular period being April, as it falls at the end of the financial year.

What this means is that if you leave your job in the middle of the year, you almost certainly won't get a penny.

And just because you've had a bonus in the past, there's no guarantee that you'll get the same amount next year - or, indeed, anything at all.

Last week, for example, one of the UK's best-known fund managers, Woodford Investment Management, announced that it was to stop paying bonuses to its staff.

CEO Craig Newman said there was no evidence that paying bonuses improved performance and could actually lead to 'short-term decision-making and wrong behaviours'.

All in all, it's nearly always better to try and negotiate a bigger salary, rather than a bonus that may never materialise.

Which jobs offer the biggest bonuses? (source: Glassdoor)

1. Global Account Manager
Median Bonus - £37,000
Median Total Compensation - £90,000

2. Partner
Median Bonus - £33,500
Median Total Compensation - £150,000

3. Chief Operating Officer
Median Bonus - £31,500
Median Total Compensation - £152,500

4. Chief Executive Officer
Median Bonus - £30,450
Median Total Compensation - £155,000

5. Portfolio Manager
Median Bonus - £30,000
Median Total Compensation - £115,000

6. Equity Trader
Median Bonus - £30,000
Median Total Compensation - £120,938

7. Broker
Median Bonus - £27,500
Median Total Compensation - £85,000

8. Investment Banking Associate
Median Bonus - £25,375
Median Total Compensation - £100,000

9. Trader
Median Bonus - £25,000
Median Total Compensation - £89,500

10. Account Executive
Median Bonus - £24,000
Median Total Compensation - £60,500