Many professionals at some point in their career will come across an opportunity to live and work abroad. An exciting adventure, it is also in many cases a financially attractive proposition, with some locations offering lower taxes or / and lower costs of living.
Emolument.com has analysed 5,162 pay data points for professionals working in New York, London, Paris and Zurich. In most cases, New York is the city paying the most across the board; for the top paying job, Trading takes the top spot in London, Paris and New York.
|Fund Manager – VP||£201,000||£125,000||£90,000||£138,000|
|Lawyer – Associate||£95,000||£111,000||£97,000||£162,000|
|Middle & Back Office – VP||£112,000||£80,000||£54,000||£106,000|
|Trader – VP||£216,000||£165,000||£118,000||NA|
Table 1. All figures are median total compensation (salary+bonus)
|City||Trading – VP||Pay gap with New York||Cost of living index||Difference of cost of living compared to NY|
Table 2. All figures are median total compensation (salary+bonus) for Traders at VP (Vice President) level . Cost of living from Numbeo.com
Trading in New York: stars align. Trading is the highest paid job in New York, London and Paris. The pay gap with the second best paid job ranges from 7% in New York to 32% in London! Despite a high cost of living in New York City, Traders are still better off there than in London or Paris.
|City||Lawyer – Associate||Pay gap with Zurich||Cost of living index||Difference of cost of living compared to Zurich|
Table 3. All figures are total compensation (salary+bonus) for lawyers at Associate level. Cost of living from Numbeo.com
Legal professionals: head for Zurich, London or even Paris! Working in the legal sector in New York is not the most financially sound option when comparing pay and cost of living with other European cities. Best pay is actually in Zurich, but when adjusting for cost of living, pay packages are as attractive in Paris or London. As a lawyer, however, where you took your degree is likely to have a huge impact on the countries in which you are able to practice, so expect less flexibility than in other jobs on our list. Being a lawyer in New York does become significantly more attractive with increasing seniority though: an ideal solution could be to start in a less expensive location in the US and move to the Big Apple having made it past Associate level.
|City||Fund Manager – VP||Pay gap with NY||Cost of living index||Difference of cost of living compared to NY|
Table 4. All figures are median total compensation (salary+bonus) Fund Managers at VP (Vice President) level. Cost of living from Numbeo.com
Apple over cheese please. Fund Managers should avoid Zurich where cost of living is so high, they won’t have a chance to enjoy their pay package as much as in New York. We observe the same pattern with software developers, who are extremely well paid in New York. Proximity to top technology centers such as MIT and high performing firms such as Google or Facebook might be one of the factors boosting developer pay.
Alice Leguay, Co-Founder & COO at Emolument.com said:
‘Financial Services remains by far the best paying industry globally as bonuses boost the total pay package far beyond other jobs. The high concentration of financial professionals in some locations such as Zurich, London and New York is a contributing factor to the high costs of living with bankers pushing up property prices in the most desirable locations.’