Restructuring Pay: The poor relations

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Restructuring boutiques may be hiring, but recruiters say demand for staff hasn't done much to boost pay in the sector.

"Right now, restructuring roles come at a discount to M&A roles," says Jim Nairn, a consultant at recruitment firm the Cornell Partnership in London. "A third year associate in a restructuring job could expect a base salary of 60,000 to 70,000, plus a bonus of up to 100%. At the same level, people in M&A can earn bonuses of 200%."

Nairn predicts the situation will be reversed when M&A hiring goes off the boil: "There will be a flick in pay scales when restructuring recruitment picks up properly and M&A hiring dies down - restructurers will then earn more."

The pay discrepancy does not appear to hold true globally, however. In the US, Gary Goldstein, chief executive of financial services search firm Whitney Group, says pay for restructuring specialists approximates that of corporate financiers: "A junior vice president would earn between $300,000 and $500,000 (173,000 and 290,000)."

Continental European pay can be relatively generous in comparison. Andreas Weik, a consultant at Frankfurt search firm Hofmann Heads, says that after five years, German restructuring specialists can command €400,000 plus. However, recruiters in Italy say Italian pay is lower, with similarly experienced restructurers in the country's commercial banks earning between €50,000 and €100,000, with those in investment banking teams earning about €200,000.