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Blackwater’s global salary survey finds ETF salaries and bonuses exceeded pre-pandemic numbers in 2021


There has been clear salary inflation across the ETF and Digital Assets industry during 2021, the average salary increasing by 11 per cent and bonuses by 10 per cent, according to a global salary survey led by Blackwater Search & Advisory.

The Survey conducted with over 3,000 individuals across the globe, shows how a lot of the salary inflation is being driven at the junior level where, since the last survey published by the firm in 2020, total compensation at the Analyst level has jumped by 42 per cent. 

Blackwater’s Founding Partner, Michael O’Riordan says: “There is a clear fight for young talent in the industry and firms are finding they need to meet the demands of candidates in order to attract the best talent. This is being reflected in the figures”. 

However, and “disappointingly, despite the rhetoric from companies on equal pay, there is still a clear gap (16 per cent) in terms of how women and men are paid within the ETF and Digital Assets industry”, O’Riordan says. “We sincerely hope that come the next survey this gap will have closed fully”.

People say ETFs are sold, not bought, Blackwater writes, adding that it seems ETF issuers agree with this saying, as Sales and Marketing compensation levels have increased by 16 per cent since Blackwater’s last survey. 

The “hot role” is in Capital Markets, the firm says and as more Mutual Fund managers enter the ETF space, typically the first hire they look to make is a Capital Markets person, which means that there will be a fight for talent for this role and compensation levels will rise.

•    The average total compensation across the industry is USD265k.
•    The average bonus is 68 per cent of base salary.
•    The US is the country paying the highest compensation, on average.
•    37 per cent higher than in Europe and 34 per cent than in Asia.
•    On average women are paid 16 per cent less than men across the industry.
•    Heads of Businesses are on average getting paid USD911k.
•    The highest paying roles are those within Trading, on average paying USD407k.
•    The lowest paying roles are Operations, on average paying USD145k.
•    Those at the start of their careers i.e., Analysts, are on average getting paid USD87k and those at the top i.e., Managing Directors are getting paid USD657k.
•    Companies paying the highest compensation levels are AP/Market.
•    Makers and companies paying the lowest are Data Vendors.

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