Bankers’ Bonuses: Justified?

So what gives? Bankers’ bonuses have been sky high for as long as I can remember, but it is justified? I realise this isn’t a new topic, and it’s something that’s puzzled me and a lot of other people for quite some time. And it’s not likely to change any time soon. But that doesn’t make the issue go away, so I’m going to delve into this a little bit.

Anyway yesterday I took a quick scan through the Sky News website and one lovely article immediately caught my eye. The headline read ‘Bankers’ Bonuses 9% Lower Last Year’, and at first I thought “hmm… about time too!”. But then I took a closer look at the figures. I mean, 9% of several billion pounds is an awful lot of money, so fair play to the financial sector for taking such a hefty cut (note the sarcasm). But in the grand scheme of things, the ‘banker bonus’ hasn’t exactly found its appropriate level in my eyes. So what I’m trying to find out is why exactly are bankers paid so much more than the rest of us?

Ok, so I have a couple of theories…

It seems very clear to me that bankers are very much misunderstood. They’re just like any human being that prides themselves on what they do, and lives for prestige and the highest status imaginable. And with higher status comes, of course, mo’ money. In a way I guess the financial sector sees itself as the Premier League of the world. By that I mean that they think the key to success is, wait for it… mo’ money! And splash out the money they do. Like the Premier League clubs of this country, à la Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City etc etc, they don’t know any other way than to splash the cash to keep their employees happy. And because being the best in the business is the goal, naturally the only way to achieve this is to show that you can pay the highest wages, and subsequently bonuses.

The bidding war for executives in the financial sector can also be compared to that of the Premier League. And like the players in the Premier League, I highly doubt they’re worth quite that much money. Now I understand that there’s a fair argument for bankers being entitled to higher pay and bonuses than your average Joe, but like the Premier league I feel as though it’s gone way too far. I get that from an organisation’s point of view you need to keep up with the Joneses in terms of what you can offer your staff financially, especially when prestige and all that is at stake. But there has to be a line, surely? Same goes for you, football!

My second theory is that, again, it is very clear that bankers are very much misunderstood. I think it should not be overlooked that bankers are being paid so much because they’re working two jobs. Clearly people don’t think they’re worth the money they’re paid because they on the outside it appears as though they are merely bankers. But oh no sir, only by day. By night they work as crime fighting superheroes! Of course the general public are unaware of their true banker identities, but they’re suitably rewarded for their troubles through bonuses. Yes, that must be it, and quite frankly if they’re saving the world from evil villains they deserve all the bonuses coming their way.

Somehow I feel my first theory is closer to the truth. Damn. The new Batman film and the Avengers have got me all pumped up about superheroes! But alas, for now we’ll just have to continue hating the financial sector, and hope it is slowly brought back down to earth…

By Joe Topliffe

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