15 Best Paying Jobs in Major Banks (Expertly Reviewed)

In our recent article “17 Jobs that pay $500k a year” we analysed and reviewed various jobs that offer you a path to earning half a million dollars a year. Unsurprisingly, financial jobs are at the top of that list. It’s no secret that there is a particular disdain for people who work on Wall Street. It came especially after the financial crisis, which saw many banks being bailed out by the taxpayers. 

Financial jobs, however, are still very much sought after as pay packages are a multiple of what graduates can earn anywhere else. The same allure tempted me but mainly because I wanted to learn about finance. Truth be told, I actually did not want to become a banker, but after meeting some very pleasant people, I was persuaded and joined a major bank’s corporate finance programme. I did not regret it at all. 

Anyway, this post is where we review and analyse the best-paying jobs in the financial industry. If you are looking to join a bank straight out of university or are looking for a career change, look no further, we got you covered.

Now let’s go straight in. 

What different Bank Jobs are there?

JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank on the American continent and the world’s largest bank by market capitalisation, currently employs roughly 270,000 worldwide. Now you can imagine that not everyone at the bank is an investment banker or advisor. 

Major banks are massive organisations. If you have ever sat in a big bank lobby, you will be amazed how many different people are walking around. There is a plethora of jobs that are being performed daily just to keep the bank going. Not only are the bankers and traders in the building but you will have all the support functions without who the bank wouldn’t be able to operate. From receptionists to in-house chefs and baristas to people working in the print offices and on-site physiotherapists, the bank’s ideal view is that its workers really don’t have to leave the building in the hope that they are ultimately more productive. 

While many of the support functions are usually lower-paid jobs the real earnings power comes in jobs that ultimately have attributes which are distinctly in the bank’s interest in order to generate revenue and profits. Any job which is generally client-facing, risk-taking or risk mitigating and ultimately crucial to run their operations smoothly is in the higher paying ranks compared to the rest. 

What Bank Jobs pay best?

Now, let’s go through the list of those higher-paying bank jobs. Maybe one of those listed is exactly what you are after. 

Investment Bankers

An investment banker is a well-suited professional that is involved with companies in raising capital and structuring deals. Bankers, as they are commonly called, help companies in all matters in terms of financing new investing ideas, debt restructuring and advising on corporate financial things and mergers.

Investment bankers typically earn $100,000 straight out of college with part of their overall pay package coming in form of bonuses. The highly competitive area of banking goes through a tough selection process to get only the best candidates into its doors. The stressful environment coupled with long working hours isn’t for everyone. That’s why the typical tenure of an investment banker is relatively short. Going through the ranks doesn’t only come with nice job titles but also higher jumps in both salaries and bonuses. The below table summarises the progression someone can be expected to go through.

TitleSalaryBonusTotal Package
Analyst$90k – $110k$50k – $100k$140k – $210
Associate$120k – $150k$100k – $200k$220k – $350k
Vice President$175k – $250k$250k – $400k$325k – $650k
Managing Director$300k – $700k$500k – $2mio$800k – $2.7mio

Research Analyst

A research analyst is involved in different areas of a major bank. The person could be involved in analysing companies and their financial statements or looking at various aspects of the economy in order to support the bank’s economist and investment teams. The specialization of a research analyst and seniority are the main drivers of their overall pay package. 

On average, a research analyst at a major bank can earn a salary of $60,000 – $120,000 depending on seniority and business area. Bonuses, if their research is investment related can mount to the same amount which means overall packages can go up to $250,000 per year. 


A trader at a major bank is responsible for executing and managing a vast amount of transactions either on behalf of the bank or its clients. The job comes with high levels of pressure and stress as well as many working hours. Remuneration is therefore highly attractive although many traders usually don’t last more than 10 years on average. 

Similarly to investment bankers, the pay packages can really increase with seniority and the importance of the area a trader is participating in. A junior trader can expect an annual salary of $100,000 to $150,000 with performance-related bonuses ranging anywhere between $100,000 and $300,000 depending on the profitability of their particular business area. Senior, well-established traders can make multiples of that with salaries ranging from $300,000 to $600,000 and bonuses coming in through performance-related incentives which can go into the millions if one’s business is particularly successful. 


Sales people are responsible for talking to their clients who transact with the bank’s trading desk or buy securities the bank is selling on behalf of its investment banking operation. Their influence and impact are important as the better their book of contact the more trading volume the bank can generate which is commensurate with its profitability. 

Salespeople are usually working on a commission basis, meaning, that for any type or quality of client and the corresponding volume of business that particular client is generating for the bank, the salesperson gets a percentage cut. In good times that compensation can be quite attractive. 

Senior sales executives can earn a salary of $400,000 and a bonus of a few million dollars if they can generate the required client volumes which bring profits to the banking operation as a whole. 

Credit Analyst

Credit analysts can work in various departments at major banks. Conducting investment-related credit analysis on a company can be of utmost importance for the bank and its clients. Internal credit analyst, meanwhile, is doing more in detail due diligence and credit analysis on potential clients who are looking for a loan from the bank. This, in combination with the relevant structure, is of utmost importance in order to protect the bank’s profitability in case of adverse outcomes. 

Credit analysts depending on their area of expertise and seniority can earn anywhere between $75,000 and 200,000 in salaries with bonuses typically coming in lower than their trading or investment banking counterparts. 

Macro Analyst / Economist

Macro Analysts are generally tasked with analyzing the vast amount of economic data globally and forecasting where the economy is headed as far as the next twelve months ahead. It is, of course, very difficult to forecast anything so any of their projections have to be taken with a grain of salt. 

In addition to analyzing data, economists are also asked to prepare research and presentations for the bank’s clients. Many of the more famous bank economists will feature on financial TV shows on CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.

Depending on the seniority bank macroeconomists can earn a base salary of $200,000  to $400,000 per year in addition to bonuses which are linked to the overall bank’s profitability. 

Quantitative Analyst

Many sought-after quantitative analysts are the new rising stars with the major banks. Outdated technology requires ever-increasing expenditures in new areas in order to bolster efficiencies within the bank. Quantitative analysts usually support traders or risk managers with complicated but very efficient tools which help them generate returns for the bank. As such, they are a key element in streamlining the increasing amounts of data and complexities in the financial world. 

An experience quantitative analyst within a bank can usually expect to make an annual salary between $100,000 and $300,000 also depending on the complexity and sensitivity of the area they are operating in. 

Financial Risk Specialist

Ever after the financial crisis all banks were forced to beef up their internal risk departments. Regulatory scrutiny demands increased supervision of all risk-taking areas within a bank with the ultimate goal to avoid any unnecessary risks as well as spotting potential misdealings or even fraud

Specialised risk people are in high demand and can as such command a decent salary. A seasoned mid-level risk expert can earn between $150,000 to $250,000 a year in salary. 

Loan Officers

Loan officers are in charge of doing the necessary due diligence, pricing and risk assessment of any potential loans the bank is willing to underwrite. Depending on the size of the deal, the bank is risking quite a large sum as well as its reputation. Loan officers are therefore responsible for properly assessing all risks and opportunities associated with a transaction. 

Loan officers, depending on their seniority can expect to be rewarded to the tune of up to $250,000 annually. 

Data / IT Scientist

Most of the financial world and its transactions are invisible and only communicated via modern technology. As such, Data and IT Scientists are responsible for the smooth transition and efficacy of a bank’s system. Cyber security is especially an increased risk and a clear operation risk focus of many banks. Furthermore, decentralising its network of data centres and disaster recovery sites are of utmost importance in order to safeguard the smooth functioning of the bank’s operation in adverse scenarios. Covid was such an adverse scenario where solid data and IT infrastructure was the distinguishing factor during those turbulent times. 

Data / IT scientists earn an average of $75,000 and $150,000 per year in salaries. This obviously goes up the more senior a position you hold with heads of departments earning double or triple this amount. 

Software Developers

Similar to data / IT scientists and quantitative analysts software developers are very sought after these days as the amount of data and frequency becomes an ever-increasing quest to efficiently and safely transact all operations within the bank. Software developers are usually found in all kinds of departments throughout the bank with trading/execution being the highest priced area as its where most of the profits are being generated. 

A programming whizz in banks can make anywhere between $100,000 to $250,000 with many of them also offering the flexibility to work remotely which is an added bonus these days. 

Asset Managers / Portfolio Managers

Having been a portfolio manager myself I can definitely speak to this role confidently. Typically the larger banks have dedicated asset management subsidiaries which are managing the client’s portfolios or funds. The task is to position and outperform the given benchmark over a certain time period which is normally 1 to 3 years. 

It’s also expected to do road shows or client meetings which are somewhat distracting when your major job is performance related. 

Asset managers typically make a salary of between $150,000 to $300,000 annually with performance-related bonuses ranging between $100,000 and $500,000 which varies with seniority and responsibility. 

Compliance / Regulatory / Law Practitioners

Increase scrutiny by regulators after the fall-out of the financial crisis has led to many hires in the compliance and regulatory units. The somewhat dry topics of regulation have to be supervised and controlled firm-wide on an ongoing basis.

Major banks also employ a vast array of lawyers who are specializing in contractual law and certain deal-specific investment banking related transactional structuring which can be highly demanding.

Compliance and the resulting law practitioners within banks are highly paid. They can typically make between $200,000 and $400,000 annually. 

Private Wealth Management

Private wealth management deals with typically ultra-high net worth individuals and their financial dealings. This can range from financial planning, to efficient tax planning to business sales and yacht purchase deals. 

This lucrative area of the banking business is all about the contacts a private banker can bring to the bank. The fees a bank can typically make from multi million dollar clients varies and is therefore firmly linked to the private bankers’s pay. 

Private wealth managers usually have annual salaries between $100,000 and $350,000 and get commission-based bonuses depending on the assets and the business transactions their clients are bringing to the bank. 

Management Functions

Management in any company is generally the highest remunerated position there is. A survey showed that the typical ratio of a US corporate’s salary of the lowest paid worker to its CEO is roughly 200-300 times. 

Many major bank CEOs and CFOs have typically salaries between $800,000 and $1.5 million per year. This, however, is dwarfed by the performance-related incentives they are given which can range into the multiple millions. Usually, those payouts are option-related payments which are vested over several years. In addition, management is rewarded additional compensation if certain financial targets are being reached. For many, however, those pay packages are hard to comprehend. I can’t blame them. 


Major banks are massive organisations. There is a plethora of jobs that are being performed daily just to keep the bank going.

The best-paying jobs in the financial industry are investment bankers, research analysts, traders, salespeople, credit analysts, macroeconomists, quantitative analysts, financial risk specialists, loan officers, data scientists, software developers, asset managers, and compliance officers. 

Private wealth managers are also highly paid, with annual salaries ranging from $100,000 to $350,000, and bonuses based on the assets and business transactions of their clients. Management functions are the highest paid positions in banks, with salaries and bonuses of up to millions of dollars per year.

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