SOME bankers here are not happy with their bonuses, others got a fatter payout, but across the banking sector, bonuses for last year were substantially higher than in 2009, a survey has found.

It also found that Hong Kong paid out much bigger bonuses to bankers last year.

Bonuses for bankers were expected to be higher, given the rally in regional markets and in Singapore, the 14.7 per cent record growth of the economy.

But payouts were not as high as anticipated, given global pressure on foreign banks to clamp down on bonuses after taxpayers' funds in countries such as Britain and the United States were used to bail out troubled institutions in the financial crisis.

The average bonus for bankers in Singapore rose 13 per cent over that of 2009, according to the eFinancialCareers Global Bonus Survey, which polled 2,683 finance professionals here from Jan 4 to Feb 14. The survey polled 6,364 professionals in total, across Singapore and four other markets: the US, Britain, Australia and Hong Kong.

Respondents were bankers who had already received their bonuses - likely to be mainly foreign bankers based here. Local banks announced bonuses after Feb 14.

A little over half - 53 per cent - of the bankers surveyed got a fatter bonus, while 22 per cent got less this year. For about a quarter, their bonuses stayed the same.

A sizeable minority - 41 per cent - were disappointed, indicating that the bonus payouts were beneath their expectations. And fewer than half, or 45 per cent of respondents, were satisfied with the increases in their bonuses.

Mr George McFerran, head of Asia-Pacific at eFinancialCareers, which manages career sites and publishes recruitment market data globally, said: 'One of the results of that is that 62 per cent of people expect to change jobs in 2011.'

Of these, 49 per cent are looking at opportunities out of their companies and 13 per cent are looking to change roles within their workplace.

Hong Kong took the lead in the global survey, with the highest increase in average bonuses - a hefty 25 per cent.

On Hong Kong's lead, Mr McFerran said: 'My take on that is that Hong Kong is more front-office driven... and they've had a record year in terms of initial public offerings and activity coming out of (mainland) China.'

Front-office functions such as trading and investment banking usually generate revenue, unlike middle and back-office roles such as compliance and operations.

Reports have suggested that foreign banks give larger bonuses to front-office staff and star performers, while middle and back-office workers and average performers tend to get much less.

Mr McFerran expects that a 'tight' labour market and expansion plans in banks will force financial institutions to place more emphasis on staff retention.

'If you're trying to hire 100 people, but you lose 100 people out the back door, you're taking one step forward and one step backwards at the same time,' he said.