Young bankers are bonkers about bonuses

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Junior bankers in Singapore are living in a bubble when it comes to bonuses, according to the 20-strong panel of in-house HR professionals who attended the recent eFinancialCareers roundtable in the city state.

Although most employees don’t expect a good 2010 bonus because of the global economic climate and internal cost cutting, many graduates and those with less than two years’ experience have unrealistic expectations, agreed the panellists.

"We even had someone who was hired in July and was told he wasn’t eligible for a bonus this year, but he didn’t get the message and is still contacting HR about it,” said one of the delegates, all of whom asked not to be named in this report.

Another attended added: “In Singapore young people think they are entitled to a bonus. Their attitude is: ‘I worked hard, so why no bonus? I deserve a bonus’.”

“We have to educate them that a bonus is something you are eligible for. It’s not an entitlement,” said a representative of a large international bank.

The roundtable panellists identified several reasons for the current lack of realism.

  • “It’s in part because they continue to hear in the media that Asia is doing better than other regions. So because Asia is fine, they should get a bonus.”

  • Young bankers like to talk about compensation with their peers. “The worst is when they hear that their friend got 25 per cent and they latch onto that figure.”

  • At universities banking is still seen as an “all singing all dancing” career, with guaranteed high bonuses.

  •  Young people typically lack “mentors” in the banking sector (especially people outside their own organisation) who can openly and honestly educate them about market conditions and employment issues.

Are you a junior banker? What sort of bonus do you expect? Sign in/up and leave your comments below (you can use a pseudonym display name if you wish).


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