Big bonuses for the few, small ones for the many

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There could be thousands more millionaires in the City after bonuses have been paid out. But a new study suggests the amount allocated to the average City employee will be

rather less impressive.

The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) predicts bonuses in the City of London are set to reach a total of 8.8bn this year, up nearly 20% on 2005.

With jobs in the City at 335,000, this implies an average bonus of around 26,000 per person.

The CEBR also predicts that 4,000 City workers will receive a 1m plus bonus this year, up from 3,000 last year. And once that 4bn has been taken out of circulation that leaves a meagre average bonus of just 14,500 for everyone else.

While 26,000 (or even 14,000) is not to be sniffed it, it doesn't sound overly generous in the realms of investment banking bonuses. This is particularly so when by compared with the average bonus on Wall Street. According to the New York State Comptroller this is somewhere in the region of $125,000 (66,000).

Are Wall Street bankers paid massively more than their counterparts in the City of London, or have the CEBR got their figures wrong?

Stephen Spagnuolo, New York-based managing director of headhunter Sheffield Haworth, suggests the latter may be the case. "My sense is that a lot of London bankers are paid more than their New York peers," he tells us.

And on Wall Street at least, he adds that this year's gains are likely to be more evenly distributed than last year's, with mid-ranking staff and mid-performers paid generously in order to retain them.

London bankers receiving 14,000 may wish the same were the case over here.

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