BIG NEWS: WSO Compensation Report is OUT!

Dear WSO Community,

I'm pleased to announce the release of the WSO Compensation Report! We had another great year with even MORE entries than last year (over 5,000)! It took many months of hard work and finally, it's here ...and it's still free :-)

Yes, that's right, access to the FULL 155 page WSO Compensation Report is 100% free. (up from 108 pages last year). This report contains thousands of data points across investment banking, private equity, hedge funds and management consulting.

The report cuts the data numerous ways including division, city, AUM and company type and can help you know if you are getting paid enough. In the 2014 version, we even have data on target vs. non-target schools, race, GPA and major. Where else can you find interesting insights like that?

Or if you are an employer, this report will give you an idea of what range you should be paying your employees.


Here's how you get access to the full 155 page report:

The same as last year. All we ask from you is to take a few minutes to help us continue to build the most comprehensive and accurate database possible. After submitting three total entries (past entries count) to our Company Database (these entries can either be Company Reviews, Interview Insights* and/or Compensation Datapoints), your entries will be reviewed and you will be granted access to the report after 24 hours of submission (assuming we approve your additions).

Please DO NOT send me a private message or ask here if/when you can be given access unless:

1) you have submitted 3 entries and
2) 48 hours have passed from when you submitted your third entry and you still don't have access OR
3) you are a member of the media that would like to cover Wall Street Oasis and unique insights from the report ([email protected])

Once you have access, you can go to the link at the top of this post and it will show the 2014 and 2013 reports as flash files. There are no hard copies sent out or e-mailed. Thank You..

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Comments (47)

Apr 1, 2014 - 8:40am

We cant download the pdf?

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."
Apr 1, 2014 - 11:37am

OK. Just saying I feel like this report provides a lot of value to the community. I was going to email it to the VC network I work with as its a great information and a branding opp for WSO. However I'm not gonna email the link to 35 ppl, which only 5-10 may have accounts and maybe 2-3 have filled out to pre-required information.

Understand there are trade offs but maybe you should offer a full download for purchase option at the least... I think it would be mutually beneficial to have Certified Users able to share this with there co-workers/networks and create your own lead gen for getting new users with more years of direct work experience on the forums.

My two cents...

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."
  • 2
Best Response
Apr 1, 2014 - 12:49pm

Thanks for the thoughts. We do offer a full access option for $999/year, and a few companies every year take that option (still does not download because again, if the person is purchasing it for themselves, why do they need the PDF version to email it?).

Other compensation reports with less detail go for $2,000+, but the point is we are really still in the early stages and are trying to grow the database as much as possible...we're not trying to sell it right now.

I hear your point on branding, which is why I'll be on several media outlets over the coming months talking about the report. The point is, I believe just allowing a download would significantly reduce the contributions we collect and make next years report less valuable. WSO doesn't suffer from a lack of brand recognition in our target market - we suffer from a lack of inbound links and media mentions -- so that is one of the ways we will leverage this report.

It takes ~1 min to sign up and less than 15 minutes to submit 3 entries to gain access. If your VC friends don't think that it's worth it (or you don't think they'd bother) to gain access to 100% of the data we have, then that's fine, but we can't let unprotected copies roam free (yet)...maybe in a few years once we've reached a large enough scale or maybe we can delay release the report, etc, but this report did take many thousands of $ to produce, so I'm going to make sure that if we keep it free, we at least get more data for next year as "payment"

Hope that makes sense. If professionals can get this from their Certified User friends, what incentive do they have to sign up? Also, not sure if you've seen in the past few months we've been certifying more users than ever. I dont think getting a free report e-mailed from a buddy will incentivize someone to sign up for the community - maybe that's where our opinions differ?


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Apr 1, 2014 - 8:23pm

Why don't they just click your link and fill out the form, if its of that much value to them and they're likely WSO users if they were familiar with what it is, its a relatively minor process.

Apr 2, 2014 - 3:41am

I hear your points guys. There are trade offs and I guess we look at it differently. I guess my frame of thought was to treat it in a semi-white paper kind of way, or targeted selling it to certain groups that can then disseminate it and create organic lead gen for the most targeted users/ancillary product purchasers (resume writing, interview guides, etc.). That may not be feasible.

For example, I know the business schools and some firms as you mentioned purchase this and share a web based link with their members/students:…

I guess my opinion is don't force people into your site...friction is friction, and 1 minute is enough to turn users off. I also believe that if you have a quality product (which you do) the users will come. Alternatively, you're working on building out the database and ensuring quantity and quality of data is probably most important at this stage. It probably does make the most sense to wait for the critical mass of guaranteed data until you release it live or on a time lagged approach (which I like btw).

Regarding value proposition I think the issue is many individuals 1) don't use the site and 2) even if they are aware of it don't see it as a legitimate resource and so this method blocked them from having that second point rendered incorrect as they can't tell if they should spend time accessing. Maybe an alternative is a limited pre-view option? This is pretty common with long, valuable reports such as at I guess I just feel the true incentive to sign up is seeing something that generates the organic response "this is a site that has multiple touch-points in my industry and work experience, I should see what other resources it has relevant to my job and services it can offer to help with my career growth"

We obviously have different motivations on how to utilize this and thus different views. Looking forward to future iterations - it's a great resource and that's what is really important.

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."
  • 2
Apr 2, 2014 - 8:23am

I appreciate the thoughts...we do have a preview of the report which I linked to in the initial post in all capitals and bolded :-)

It's the 2013 report, but it gives people the idea of the level of detail and amount of data we have collected.

I 100% agree with you that there is value in just blasting out a PDF to the whole world and having it spread. I just think at this stage it's more valuable as a carrot to get more entries...our daily average on submissions is ~30-50...yesterday we were at 242 in one day.

While we don't expect entries to continue at that level, we will be promoting this post to the home page fairly often over the next few months. If we can keep it close to 100 new entries per day for just 1 month, that is 3,000 more datapoints each month to give us an amazing head start for next years report.

I think it's hard to know exactly which strategy is better, so you may be right, but I think the 3 entries is a pretty small price to pay for a report that costs us thousands of $s and 100s of hours to produce :-) and yes, friction is friction. Without registered users and that carrot, we have no report or a much weaker one.

Will keep everyone updated here how we're trending. Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and contributions...I love it when users challenge my decisions. These decisions are not easy since oftentimes I feel like I am operating in a vacuum, so I think getting questioned by members is one of the best ways to make sure we are headed in the right direction.


ps - not sure if you've noticed, but we've also released a lot more data and charts on the company overview pages about how the company ranks on a variety of metrics (not using a simple avg)...stay tuned, because we are going to start releasing some fun rankings based on these

Apr 2, 2014 - 2:01pm

And WSO got kicked around in the comments. Bummer.

"Everybody needs money. That's why they call it money." - Mickey Bergman - Heist (2001)
Apr 2, 2014 - 8:26pm

here's what I responded...most people fail to look at the distributions and realize that these are global #s...had the same response last year and I think we need to do a better job breaking out different regions for next year and/or providing min/maxs next to the avgs so people know that there are #s in there that match what they hear all the time (= top bucket FTW!)

"Please remember that the stats reported here are only one small cross section of the report. If it's not otherwise stated, these are GLOBAL avgs. Therefore, it's very possible that the numbers look low to you because maybe you are in NYC, London or HK, but if you look into the actual report and dig into the distribution by city and some of the city by city variances, you'll see that the numbers can vary widely.

We get used to hearing top-bucket long enough, we forget there are bankers in minneapolis and Bangalore making much less, so looking at these overall averages is not as useful as actually reading the full report and digging into the cross sections that make the most sense to you. (Bulge bracket, elite boutique, other, group/division, etc). Maybe in next years figures we'll try to show a max/min on each number, but it's already a beast at 155 pages.

Also, I am sure there are some errors in the data since it did take us 100+ hours to group, slice and dice appropriately. Appreciate anything you see as off to email me at [email protected] and I'll take a look. But again, please read the distribution information in the report before the knee jerk reaction and realize that this isn't just the Manhattan bubble reporting comp."

Apr 10, 2014 - 1:48pm

I can't tell if the "race" piece is a joke or not? Do you actually collect that?

Nothing short of everything will really do.
Apr 10, 2014 - 4:15pm

yes, we did collect that. it's reported on an aggregate basis. We even show on the company pages the % of interviews granted by race. why do you ask? we thought it would be useful information to know about a firm's diversity.

I suppose it is useful, I was just looking at it in the wrong context. I saw this post for the first time on April fools' day, so when reading the announcement I scanned looking for something that could be misleading/inflammatory and the two pieces I thought could incite the masses on the site were Race and Target/Non-Target. I just wasn't sure if those pieces remaining in the update was just a residual piece of the April 1 post.

So I wasn't being sarcastic/rude and apologize if I came off as such when I asked if the Race portion was a joke, I was actually curious. Good to know, thanks for the reply!

Nothing short of everything will really do.
  • 2
Apr 11, 2014 - 9:47pm

Do you have a methodology? Is this mainly data contributed by users to the WSO database? Any scrubbing?

Useful info, but the economist in me wants to know details :D

Currently: future neurologist, current psychotherapist Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
Apr 13, 2014 - 4:48pm

good questions:

1. 100% of the data is submitted from WSO members (anonymously, not tied to any username -- only I can see as an admin)

2. Every evening we manually review all submissions - we have certain guidelines / processes in place to check the validity of various submissions, but we believe there is minimal motivation to lie when it takes almost the same amount of time to submit a fake as it does a real submission (and all you need to gain access for 1 month is 1 phone interview)...we still have approximately ~1-2 fakes per day (typically from new users that are too lazy) -- out of 50-100 submissions. They are removed within 24hours and their account is blocked.

In the near future the salary pages for every company will start showing pretty graphs, similar to glassdoor, that shows min/max/avg for each title / position. Not easy on our budget to get this looking good but we're chipping away...

Does that help with the questions? Since last year we've been collecting a lot more interesting data with every submission (ugrad school, degrees, gpas, majors, sex, military, race, etc) so that we can try and get some insights, as well as answer some interesting questions as the resource grows...

Of course, the hard part is #1 getting to the scale that the results become statistically significant (much easier for the BBs), which is one of the reasons we followed imdbs methodology (Bayesian estimates) when applying rankings and percentiles to each company on each metric. A company with 1 five star ranking will not be ranked above a company with four 5 star rankings and a 3 star, for example...

The other challenge we've experienced is getting people from very small firms comfortable submitting information. What we may do is shift to a system that is more protective -- if a compensation submission is #1 or #2 in a particular company, for example, they will remain unpublished (only used in aggregate reporting) until a third is submitted. Protection in #s could go a long way to making people more comfortable sharing (plus the fact that even "public" means that only company database subscribers and other contributors can see it).

Welcome your thoughts on this.


@"BlackHat" - one of the reasons I defended it is admittedly, we probably should have broken the overall #s by US and non-US to skew it less...or at least "major cities" and "regional". People tend to freak out when they ONLY see $80k avg comp for 1st year analysts :-)'s hard to pull out and cut the data the way everyone likes to see it.

Apr 15, 2014 - 8:02am

The other challenge we've experienced is getting people from very small firms comfortable submitting information. What we may do is shift to a system that is more protective -- if a compensation submission is #1 or #2 in a particular company, for example, they will remain unpublished (only used in aggregate reporting) until a third is submitted. Protection in #s could go a long way to making people more comfortable sharing (plus the fact that even "public" means that only company database subscribers and other contributors can see it).

I feel like you should find a way to make this more clear to potential contributors. I submitted a number of interview reports but I work at a small office and didn't want to submit my pay info for the exact reason you stated.

Also, did you find the analysis more difficult with hedge funds? It seems like the others have such structured promotions and ranking systems between Associate/VP/Partner etc that the data groups nicely. With the hedge funds it is much more diverse and harder to bracket. I've talked to people who are still considered an analyst after 10 years, some don't have associates at all, etc. There just seems to be so much variation in what each means that it is harder to segment the data effectively.

Apr 13, 2014 - 4:13pm

No need to defend the report on other websites Pat, if people don't understand how surveys and statistics work they deserve to be stupid.

I hate victims who respect their executioners
Apr 20, 2014 - 1:39am

Great work all.

Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

You could probably save yourselves a little bit of time with the Consulting section. From what i've seen all the major U.S. firms offer the same salaries across all U.S. cities. Salaries are all very structured for the most part with the bonus becoming more of a wild card as one becomes more senior.

I have to admit i am a little bit surprised the numbers aren't higher for banking and hedge funds. Even looking at the sliced and diced data.

Aug 26, 2014 - 7:36am

Hooray! Now we can compare salary sizes.

[quote=Matrick][in reply to Tony Snark"]

Why aren't you blogging for WSO and become the date doctor for WSO? There seems to be demand.

[/quote] [quote=BatMasterson][in reply to Tony Snark's dating tip]

Sensible advice.

Dec 30, 2014 - 3:02am


I would... but the truth is I can't sell my soul to myself...
Mar 17, 2015 - 10:52pm

@"" Page 6 of the current report reads "This report includes data submitted up until December 31, 2012 for compensation received in 2011 or 2012." Page 5 of the 2013 report reads the same way. Unless I am not understanding correctly, I'd imagine neither of these read how you want them to.

Apr 28, 2015 - 7:52pm

assume this passive aggressive comment is because you think they are too low? :-)

Yes. I am not intimately familliar with HF compensation but expected it to be above IB and consulting.

Are you considering that many of the entries are in smaller cities and small funds?

Yes. Even if you filter for "Notable Hedge Funds" (pg 69), which should largely control for this effect, total comp is still ~86k for Analyst, ~123k for Senior Analyst, ~101k for Associate, ~153k for Senior Associate, which still does not seem much above IB / consulting.
Perhaps the discrepancy could be riven by the combination of two factors:
1. Some funds having Associate as a more junior person than the Analyst (more on the research side, similar to ER), others the other way around.
2. Bias for more junior people on WSO hence pulling both of the roles comp down.

Or is my understanding wrong and all-in top HF comp is more like ~$100-120k at undergrad level (quite believable) and $100-150k at post-MBA level (seems lower than IB)?

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