C++ programmer: How much am I worth?

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A panel of recruiters gives its assessment of typical London pay packages. Average salary: 45,000, plus bonuses.

Programming and the support needed to make development ideas a practical reality are the nuts and bolts of every bank's IT department, and the entry level of most IT graduates into investment banking.

Competition is fierce at this level and as always, any experience of financial instruments and how they are traded will always give candidates the edge.

Brett Marsh, a recruitment consultant with McGregor Boyall in London, says, "Strong programming skills in either a Windows or Unix background, as well as a 2.1 degree, are basic skills needed. Candidates coming from blue-chip companies, or software houses, trying to get into investment banking would need extra skill sets, such as network or graphic user interface knowledge, to stand out."

With three years experience outside of banking IT, a C++ programmer can expect salaries to begin at between 35,000 and 45,000. For those lucky enough to have spent those foundation years at a financial institution the salary will rise to 50,000, more depending on the financial instruments they have dealt with.

A derivatives background, for example, could take this salary to more than 55,000 basic. Bonuses at this level range wildly from bank to bank, but after the first year in the job, rewards of between 10% and 25% can be expected.

Interestingly, Michael Lappin, managing consultant FM IT at London-based recruitment agency Mantis Partners, says it is at this level that banks are keen to diversify and actively encourage female candidates. He says, "Banks are well-aware of the low numbers of women in IT, and suspect that this might not be the case in other sectors, so are more likely to interview candidates from non-banking backgrounds at this level."

Marsh at McGregor Boyall, which recently launched a Women in Technology website initiative to highlight this issue, agrees that there is actually a shortage of women in IT development roles in comparison to the business side of banking.

Figures and commentary from McGregor Boyall and Mantis Partners