Are IT bonuses the worst?

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It seems the humble techie may have fared particularly badly in this year's bonus round.

A survey of investment banks, asset management firms and private equity groups by headhunters Heidrick & Struggles suggests bonuses will slump by an average of 30-50% this year.

However, chief information officers interviewed by the headhunters give the impression bonus reductions could be at the upper end of that scale within technology divisions.

One London-based CIO said: "We will be down approximately 40% and 50% and will focus on paying the mid- and junior-level staff rather than the more senior leaders."

Another suggested bonuses could be down by as much as 55%.

Paul Thoma, managing director of financial technology headhunters Garthorne Associates, says it could be even worse.

"A lot of the people we've been talking to got nothing for 2008," he says. "What's more, we've been told that some supposedly guaranteed bonuses have been substantially reduced. Obviously people are unhappy, but most are sticking with what they have rather than risking moving jobs."

However, firms should pay out for certain key people, reckons Abigail Wauby, manager of the IT division at recruiters Project Partners.

"Those architects who have built out systems or development managers who are involved in key strategic projects should receive decent bonuses. However, as a general rule of thumb, pay outs are going to be nominal if anything at all."

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