Strong demand for IT staff in banks and brokerages over the past year has led to higher bonuses than the year before, says a London survey by the recruitment firm Sheffield Haworth.
"It is now more common for technologists to receive 100% bonuses for excellent performance," says the survey of pay for the year to April 2001.
It says guaranteed bonuses have also become increasingly common for IT staff as a retention tool, particularly in banks that have merged. Share options are also more likely to be granted than in the past.
Andrew Keene, divisional director of Sheffield Haworth, said: "People are increasingly moving towards a bonus culture." Revenue generators had always been paid by banks in accordance with the bank's performance, and this trend was now spreading to IT staff, particularly those with a front office focus.
The survey found that large European banks in particular were paying IT staff more as they developed new products, reducing the gap with the traditionally higher paying US banks.
"This has ultimately meant a bigger IT spend in order to develop or bring in-house the necessary skills", said David Pitts, senior associate at Sheffield Haworth.
He said that in some cases mergers had led to banks doubling bonuses for IT staff.
The survey shows global heads of IT earning a basic salary of between about 150,000 and 300,000, with total packages amounting to between 300,000 and 1.2m.
Europe heads of IT had a basic salary of around 150,000 to 250,000, with total packages usually between 250,000 and 600,000.
UK heads of IT typically earned a basic salary of between 100,000 and 150,000. Their packages averaged between 150,000 and 275,000.
Keene said that compensation for IT staff was likely to fall in the coming year because of the economic slowdown. "We will see an overall decrease in bonuses," he said. "But it is very early days and it depends on what happens to the markets in the next few months."