A trader monitors financial information on computer screens
There is a clear fight for young talent in the industry, Blackwater founder Michael O’Riordan says © Bloomberg

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Salaries in the exchange traded fund and digital assets space increased by roughly 10 per cent last year, with those at junior level seeing significant jumps in pay, according to Blackwater Search & Advisory, a consulting and recruiting firm.

Blackwater, which specialises in the ETF and digital assets industry, surveyed more than 3,000 individuals across the globe to produce its annual report, which reveals that average salaries and bonuses in the sector rose by 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively in 2021.

Average compensation for workers in the sector in Europe, the Middle East and Africa stood at $264,400, with salaries accounting for $157,633 of that figure. The average total compensation figure for the Emea region is 27 per cent lower than the $362,874 commanded in the US.

According to Blackwater, much of the salary inflation has been “driven at the junior level”, with total compensation for analysts jumping 42 per cent year on year.

Those at the start of their careers are on average getting paid $87,000, the firm highlighted.

Michael O’Riordan, founding partner at Blackwater, said there was “a clear fight for young talent in the industry and firms are finding they need to meet the demands of candidates in order to attract the best talent. This is being reflected in the figures.”

Blackwater also found that compensation levels in sales and marketing for ETFs and digital assets had risen 16 per cent since the last survey.

It added that it expected pay levels for capital markets roles to increase, since “as more mutual fund managers enter the ETF space, typically the first hire they look to make is a capital markets person”.

According to O’Riordan, a “clear gap” remained in terms of “how women and men are paid within the ETF and digital assets industry”, with women receiving 16 per cent less on average, “despite the rhetoric from companies on equal pay”.

Average total compensation for women working in ETFs and digital assets was $262,288 in 2021, compared with $305,047 for men.

*Ignites Europe is a news service published by FT Specialist for professionals working in the asset management industry. It covers everything from new product launches to regulations and industry trends. Trials and subscriptions are available at igniteseurope.com.

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