Junior bankers say they’ll quit after bonuses fall

It’s a tale of two Wall Streets.

Hundreds of thousands of junior bankers are cutting back after their bonuses were a bust this year.

But the very top of the 1% is living large thanks to the stock market surging and Bitcoin soaring — meaning their inflation-beaten bonuses didn’t affect their wealth.

The stock market’s bull run is bringing cheer to those with large holdings but junior bankers who depend on their bonuses have been hit by lower pots — and are cutting back as a result. AP

Official figures show that the average Wall Street bonus for 2023 was $176,500, compared to $180,000 for 2022. Thanks to inflation, that 2% decline is even more painful.

Given roughly 1 in 11 people in New York is employed in some capacity by a financial firm, according to data from the comptroller, any changes in Wall Street compensation can have an outsized impact on the rest of the city.

Bonuses are doled out at the end of the year and typically make up the majority of someone’s total compensation.

For instance, a managing director at a top firm could make a salary of $500,000 or more and in a good year nab a bonus of a million dollars or more.

But a first or second year analyst at a top firm who makes around $110,000 in salary saw their bonus fall as low as $30,000 or even zero — compared to the $100,000 they expected.

And vice presidents at large firms — whose salaries are usually between $200,000 and $250,000 and who had expected at least the same in bonus — are also complaining that they have been getting closer to $100,000. After tax, the bonus is just over $50,000.

At hotspots like Carbone, some entrees cost as much as $100 meaning a dinner tab can quickly balloon into hundreds of dollars. Gabi Porter
At Carbone, a glass of Dom Perignon is $95 while a glass of Le Serre Nuove dell’ Ornellaia will set you back $60. Flo Ngala/

One vice president at a large firm who has a one bedroom in the West Village, albeit a walkup, said after receiving even less this year than he did last year, he has tried to scale back the number of times he eats out to two nights a week instead of three or four.

At his favorite spots — Carbone where branzino costs $95, Dante’s where veal Milanese is $60 and Saint Theo’s where lamb chops are $68 — a dinner tab can quickly balloon to $300 or more and a drinks tab can easily hit $100 for a date. 

Hank Medina, who runs social media account Litquidity, with more than 840,000 followers on Instagram, said junior employees had a “brutal year” and are re-evaluating a career in finance.

Medina told The Post he has gotten hundreds of messages from junior bankers saying they “are unhappy and are going to leave” as a result of the stingy payout.

Some executives who’ve spent decades on Wall Street said they are sympathetic to younger employees who worked hundred hour weeks in the hopes of getting a big payout only to be stiffed.

At banks like JPMorgan, a first year employee makes around $110,000 salary but can expect tens of thousands more from a bonus. Getty Images
Junior employees at banks like Goldman Sachs are threatening they could leave as a result of the stingy payout. Paul Martinka

“First year employees are only making a $100,000 salary in New York City. They rely on a decent bonus to pay their rent,” a source in his 60s, who has been working as a banker for four decades, said.

The source, who noted the median Manhattan rent is $4,257 according to a StreetEasy study from February said he “felt for the kids.”

While these senior executives may pity the rank-and-file, many of them are celebrating their own financial wins.

Those who have spent decades in finances saw their personal assets — which are often in the tens of millions — yield more profit than they would’ve made on a bonus in a good year, sources told The Post.

Over the last year, the S&P 500 has climbed 30%, the Nasdaq index has soared 38% and Bitcoin – which some of the richest have invested in — has jumped 159% to more than $73,000 at its apex.

Renting a Gulfstream — like the G650 above — is actually slightly cheaper today than it was at the height of covid. Shutterstock / Mike Fuchslocher

The wealthiest are also benefiting from some deflation.

For instance, chartering a Gulfstream at the height of covid was $15,000 an hour whereas now it’s closer to $12,000 an hour.

But the bonus malaise was enough to push some executives to cut back where they could.

Kaye Gitibin — CEO of luxury car service Go Rentals that will deliver a swanky car directly to customers at private jet terminals and yacht marinas so they don’t have to deal with a regular rental service — said people won’t give up luxury and convenience but want to cut costs where they can.

Even the 1% are cutting back where they can — like downgrading to renting a Range Rover Sport vehicle which can cost $50 less day for a vacation rental.. Range Rover

“If a client was renting a Range Rover HSE a few years ago they’re now renting a Range Rover sport which is $50 less a day,” Gitibin said. “If they were renting an Escalade they’re now renting a Denali.”

“This year people are now going on a ski weekend five or six times not seven or eight times — and staying at home the other weekends,” Doug Gollum, founder and editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons, a buyer’s guide to jets said.

Jim Murren, CEO of Ritz-Carlton’s “yacht collection” — which offers high-end cruises starting at $2,000 a day and is fully booked through the summer — said people are still prioritizing spending on vacations but are paring back in other areas.

“What we’ve learned is people are spending money differently,” he told The Post. “Consumables have been negatively impacted by a small bonus pool but the desire for experiences has not been impacted.”

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