Everyone on the buyside likes making fun of the back and middle office – but the work is extremely important and someone has to do it right? So you might as well make some money in the process!

It turns out you don’t have to be a hot shot trader or a managing director to earn a pretty nice living in London’s financial sector. In fact, according to salary-benchmarking site Emolument.com, many back office employees at financial firms earn upwards of £70,000 a year including bonuses (based on 2015 survey data). Also of note, the average salary and bonus for mid-level back office professionals with four to eight years experience moved up a respectable 14% over the four years from 2012 to 2015.

Middle and back office generalists were tied with trade settlement and securities operations for the smallest salary and bonus, for a total average compensation of £56,000 each. Risk modeling/quant positions and credit risk management positions were tied for the highest total compensation at £79,000, but risk modeling/ quant positions earned higher salaries while credit risk management had the larger bonuses.

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Specialization leads to higher pay in back office jobs

One can see from the comparative chart above that specialized back office professionals earn more than generalist employees across all categories. For example, credit or market risk specialists take home 18% more than risk generalists. By the same token, middle and back office generalists are typically paid less less than data management or trade support professionals.

Risk professionals are on top of the heap in terms of the highest pay package, with risk modellers taking home as much as 20% more than the second best paid data management specialists.

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Statement from Alice Leguay of Emolument.com

Alice Leguay of Emolument.com highlights that an ongoing shortage of experienced middle level and back office staff is pushing up compensation: “A dearth of middle & back office staff, more specifically Risk professionals, is making recruiting skilled and experienced staff a challenge. The 16% uptick in pay over the last few years for associates is a ripple effect from the more substantial increase seen at senior levels (+31% increase in MD pay 2014-2015), inching closer to front office compensation which has been under pressure since 2008.”