Societe Generale joins Wall Street pay battle with salary bump

Societe Generale has increased salaries for its junior bankers on Wall Street, as the battle for younger talent heats up amid a surge in departures across the sector.

The French bank has increased pay for entry-level analysts in front office functions including investment banking and trading to $100,000 from around $85,000, according to people familiar with the matter, bringing it in line with most European and US rivals that have hiked salaries in recent weeks.

Juniors in their second year will receive $105,000, while third-year analysts will be paid $110,000.

The salary bumps apply to all so-called front office jobs at SocGen, a move out of kilter with some rivals that have restricted raises to dealmaking functions only.

However, JPMorgan broadened its pay increases to include sales, trading and research staff, while Bank of America included markets functions in its second salary increase within four months when it bumped entry-level pay to $100,000 on 13 August. It had previously hiked junior pay by up to $25,000 in April.

READ These banks now pay 20-somethings starting salaries of $100,000 or more

Banks have increased pay in response to a surge in burnout among junior employees, as deal flow has hit new highs. Banks have hauled in a record $60bn in fees during the first half of 2021, according to data provider Dealogic, while working time for juniors has pushed 100-hours a week as most remain at home amid Covid-19 restrictions.

Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan, Lazard, Morgan Stanley, Nomura and UBS have all increased base pay for first year analysts to $100,000 over the past month. Goldman Sachs will pay its juniors $110,000, however, a figure matched by boutiques including Jefferies, Perella Weinberg and Moelis & Co.

Credit Suisse was likely to follow rivals with a pay rise to $100,000, Financial News reported on 2 August.

The renewed focus on junior bankers comes after a leaked presentation by a group of Goldman Sachs analysts in March outlining declining mental and physical health amid a sustained period of grueling weeks.

“I’ve been through foster care and this is arguably worse,” said one respondent.

READ Why are Goldman 20-somethings on $110,000 a year complaining? Here’s what you need to know

Some banks including Moelis, Credit Suisse and Centerview rolled out one-time spot bonuses for juniors in the aftermath of the Goldman Sachs presentation in April, but salary rises to six-figures by banks including Barclays and JPMorgan in June have had a domino effect across the industry in a war to see banks secure the best junior talent and avoid young staff leaving the sector.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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