Financial Professionals Earned Slight Increases in Base Salaries Last Year

businesswoman handing check to businessman
(pitipat -

Treasury and finance professionals earned an average 2.9% base salary increase in 2020, a 0.8% decrease from the 3.7% gain in 2019 according to the 2021 Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) Compensation Survey. The base pay increase of 2.9% is the lowest salary increase reported in the past seven years, according to the new report.

The 2021 AFP Compensation Survey reveals base-salary raises for executive-tier positions at 2.6%, which is 0.7% less than reported a year ago, while there was a 0.5% decrease in salaries for staff-tier positions. At the management- tier level, the average 3.1% increase in base salaries during the calendar year 2020 is 1.2% less than the base salary increase reported in last year’s survey.

Comprehensive 2021 AFP
Compensation Survey results are available at To gather the data, 2,268 financial professionals responded to the survey, providing salary information for nearly 5,000 incumbents.

In 2020, 69% of organizations awarded bonuses to their employees - a slightly lower percentage than the 72% that granted bonuses in 2019. Of the three job tiers, executive-tier financial professionals received the largest average bonuses at 32% of base salary. The average bonus for management-tier professionals was 17% of base salary and the average bonus for staff-tier was 9% of base salary. However, the share of bonus pay for all three tiers was lower than in past years.

Education and Professional Certifications
Data from the 2021 AFP Compensation Survey continue to reflect the importance of education and professional certification in financial professionals’ careers. In 2020, financial professionals with an MBA earned an average base salary that was nearly $15,000 higher than that of their counterparts who held only a bachelor’s degree or high school diploma or associate degree.

Incumbents in some positions who hold professional certifications tend to have higher salaries than those in similar jobs who do not. Survey data show that vice presidents of finance who hold a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation earned on average 20% more in 2020 than their colleagues without the certification. In addition, job titles with at least five incumbents holding the Certified Corporate FP&A Professional (FPAC) certification earned on average 3% more than their peers without the certification.

Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Compensation
As organizations faced steep challenges due to the pandemic, business leaders implemented various strategies to curtail costs and minimize the impact of the crisis on their bottom lines. These measures are evident in the decrease in base salary raises and bonuses observed in this year’s survey findings:

• One approach was to restrict hiring any new employees; 41% of organizations mandated a hiring freeze.

• Other methods included a reduction in workforce - this occurred at 45% of organizations.

• Nearly half the respondents reported that their employers either eliminated salary/performance raises or these were impacted to some extent.

• Bonuses/incentive compensation were impacted at 44% of companies.

“It’s not surprising that the pandemic may have played a role in the decrease in salary raises, bonuses and more,” said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP. “However, this year’s report also underscores the importance of treasury and finance professionals focusing on upskilling by earning relevant professional certifications and/or advanced degrees.”

About AFP®
Headquartered outside of Washington, D.C. and located regionally in Singapore, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of treasury and finance members and their organizations. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in treasury and finance.