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Nearly half of all financial services professionals working in Tokyo expressed themselves as “dissatisfied” with their 2013-14 bonuses according to this year’s Morgan McKinley Japan Bonus Satisfaction Survey. Yet only two percent of respondents stated that bonus payments were the primary motivating factor when considering a new position. Salary was more important for 37% of respondents, while 44% indicated that the entire compensation package was their primary consideration.

At the same time, basic salaries are showing a modest positive trend. 40% of respondents reported that they received a raise in 2013-14, compared with 31% in 2012-13. Lionel Kaidatzis, Managing Director, Morgan McKinley Japan, commented, “We have detected a very significant shift away from the discretionary element of reward within financial services, and this latest survey confirms the trend.”

Here are the findings of the survey in brief:

• 84% of financial services professionals received a bonus (2012-13: 83%)

• 40% received a pay rise (2012-13: 31%)

• 30% received a bonus that was higher than in 2012-13

• 42% of respondents were dissatisfied with their bonus payment; 67% were either dissatisfied or neutral while only 33% were satisfied

• 54% of respondents received bonuses of 20% or less of their basic salary in 2013-14

• Only 2% cited bonus as the most important consideration when looking for a new job

• 37% cited basic salary as the most important consideration

• 44% cited overall compensation package as the most important consideration

• 53% said they believed their bonuses were lower than those of peers working for competitor financial institutions

Lionel Kaidatzis added, “A significant number of Tokyo-based bankers clearly feel dissatisfied with the level of bonus payments for the current financial year. To some extent this is understandable as the Nikkei performed very well, which for the most part meant strong results for foreign-based financial institutions in Japan. However, poorer results in many of these institutions in their home markets deflated the bonus pools available for employees based in Japan. Given that bonus payments often reflect global factors beyond the control of employees, it is to be expected that basic salary and overall compensation figures more strongly in job-seekers’ considerations.”

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