Front Office Bankers: How To Navigate Bonus Season

Bonus season is right around the corner for the big banks. As you wait for payouts to be announced, now is the time to sit back and relax. Or, is it?

“Bonuses for some front office desks are being rolled out later in Q1 than they were in previous years,” says Amanda Chajes, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division who specializes in Global Markets and Alternative Investments. “However, hiring managers and high-level executives have been having conversations about their hiring needs and budgets since November. This means that they will be ready to start making offers in early Q2.”

In other words, banks are anticipating that there will be a lot more activity in the job market as bonuses are announced from late January to March. As a result, those looking to get ahead of the curve might want to start exploring their options before their organization releases this information.

“While it may not make sense for you to resign until after you’ve received your bonus, it certainly doesn’t hurt to start having these conversations now,” advises Amanda. “If you are ultimately happy with your bonus and decide to stay, you’ll be able to walk away with more knowledge on market and banking trends. In the opposite case, you will find yourself with the competitive advantage when job searching. By being proactive, you’ve started building momentum way before any of your peers have even thought about their search.”

If you want to make the most of bonus season, here are four steps you can take while you wait for your payout:

Update your LinkedIn profile

Social networking sites like LinkedIn have changed the way we connect after networking events, meetings, and interviews. As a result, improving the way your brand is portrayed on LinkedIn is a vital step in preparing for your job search. Your brand can be what others—employers, clients, and network connections—identify you as an expert in, so this social networking platform is one of the best ways to market your skills, achievements, and industry expertise. Read also: Personal Branding 101 For Financial Services Professionals

Get involved

Attending industry events throughout bonus season is another great way to educate yourself on the market. Not only do they allow you to meet and connect with likeminded professionals in your field, but also help you stay abreast of industry trends and keep your skills up-to-date. Some professionals even take their industry involvement a step further by volunteering for a relevant charitable organization such as Hedge Funds Care.

Reach out to a recruiter

A recruiter can be an excellent person to turn to if you aren’t sure where to start. As industry specialists, they have unique insight into what advancement opportunities, salaries, and bonuses look like across a variety of front office roles. “Whether you are actively looking or just want to explore your options, having a relationship with a recruiter can benefit your career in a number of ways,” says Amanda. “All of these conversations are confidential, so nothing will get back to your current employer.”


Reaching out to your network during bonus season is a great way to learn more about the market and what your options are. “While you wait to hear about your bonus, start putting some feelers out with people you can trust,” advises Amanda. “Former colleagues or supervisors and other connections might help you uncover some more insight on the market.” Read also: Financial Services Professionals Need To Build Their Network—But How?

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