Most professionals in the UK do not feel wealthy until they earn at least £370,000 per annum, more than twice the amount required to be among the richest one percent, according to salary benchmarking site Emolument.com.
In its latest study of 1,555 professionals, Emolument.com found that professionals working in Singapore, Switzerland and UAE feel wealthy with much lower earnings than those working in the UK or France despite higher or similar costs of living.
The impact of years of experience on professionals’ perception of their wealth was also reflected in the research findings. Professionals need to earn £93,000 annually to feel wealthy within the first five years of their career, climbing to £300,000 for those with five to 10 years of experience, £355,000 for those with 10 years, and £435,000 for those with 15 years and above. This means junior employees will need to triple their income if they want to feel wealthy 10 years into their career.
Young professionals who earn close to £100,000 per annum in their twenties feel wealthy as they are likely to compare favourably to their peers who are in lower-paid jobs. Despite this, high earners with 15 years plus of experience become used to higher standards of living, may be financially responsible for a family and are likely to spend time with colleagues and friends earning similar amounts, meaning they require a far larger financial package in order to feel wealthy.
In terms of industry, a quarter (25 percent) of bankers consider themselves wealthy, relatively in line with other industries such as energy, mining, chemicals and environment and consulting and professional services (21 percent each).
Though the last decade has seen an increase in remuneration for technology workers, they feel poorer than those who work in the public sector (15 percent of technology workers feel wealthy, compared with 16 percent of those working in the public sector).
Chief operating officer and co-founder at Emolument.com, Alice Leguay, commented: “Considering current levels of frustration with their jobs and the industry as a whole, it is not surprising that only a small proportion of bankers feel wealthy. After all, they entered the sector with hopes of huge bonuses, a glamorous and aspirational job and now find themselves in one of the most regulated industries with ever-shrinking payouts and poor social perception of their choice of career, as well as huge standard of living costs which many struggle to maintain.”
Ms Leguay added: “This discrepancy leads many searching for an exit towards less regulated and more exciting opportunities in the venture capital, private equity and hedge fund space, where bankers now perceive opportunities for wealth to be within reach.”