Japan’s bankers – higher bonuses but unimpressed says survey.

Cautious optimism in market.

Morgan McKinley’s Financial Services Bonus Survey 2019 shows that while more bonuses were paid out this year, the majority of Japanese bankers remains unimpressed. The same can be said about their outlook on Japan’s economy with the majority expressing feeling ‘neutral’ about Japan’s economic prospects.

The Japan Bonus Satisfaction Survey also found:

  • 41 per cent received a higher or significantly higher bonus compared to 2017 – 2018 while 34 per cent received approximately the same as the year before
  • 48 per cent received a bonus of 10 – 40 per cent of their annual salary, followed by 24 per cent receiving over 40 per cent of their annual salary and 11per cent receiving 0 – 10 per cent
  • The number of people receiving a bonus stayed at 86 per cent as the year before
  • 46 per cent feel ‘neutral’ about the economic outlook in Japan
  • 46 per cent felt neutral about their bonus payments; only 19 per cent were satisfied with their bonus payments

“The results of this year’s survey for bonus payouts were actually more favourable than we had anticipated,” said Morgan McKinley Japan’s managing director, Lionel Kaidatzis. “The mood in the market seemed to be suggesting that bonus levels were going to be down on the previous year.”

A total of 34 per cent of financial services professionals received a higher bonus payout compared to the previous year. Over 24 per cent of respondents said that their bonus made up over 40 per cent of their annual base salary.

The percentage of bankers feeling positive about Japan’s economic outlook has dropped significantly compared to the previous year with only 22 per cent expressing they are feeling ‘positive’ about the outlook compared to 43 per cent last year. Lionel Kaidatzis explains that this is not necessarily centred to Japan but rather a type of “cautious optimism”.

The ongoing US/China trade wars and Brexit has put enough uncertainty into the markets for hiring managers to exercise caution before signing off on new hires. “The economic outlook is therefore not necessarily centred to Japan, where the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup have created so much positive sentiment in recent years, but it has meant a switch from optimism to caution,” he says.

The survey further shows that respondents considered Japan’s local performance to be strong, however noticing a pull back on a global performance level. 

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