That's the average...an average from the CEO all the way down to receptionists. Bubble or no? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aEM0x3_0NeF8&refer=home Goldman's Average Pay Declines as Staff Increases (Update1) By Christine Harper June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the best- paying Wall Street firm last year, added people faster than it increased compensation in the first half, trimming the average pay per person to $392,617. Average compensation at the New York-based investment bank fell 9.5 percent in the six months ended May 25 from $434,014 in the same period a year earlier, based on data in today's quarterly earnings report. Full-time workers surged 17 percent to 28,012 while Goldman held growth in compensation expenses to 6 percent. The total cost, $11 billion, still set a record. Goldman, the biggest firm by market value, has led Wall Street raises that former co-chairman John Whitehead, 85, labeled ``shocking'' last month. Surging revenue and competition with hedge funds and buyout firms for traders and bankers have driven Wall Street pay higher in recent years. The pace of hiring at Goldman is likely to quicken, said Chief Financial Officer David Viniar in an interview today. Staff increases ``will be driven by growth outside the United States,'' Viniar said. ``There will be growth in the United States, there will be faster growth in Europe, and there will be even faster growth in Asia.'' Goldman generated 52 percent of its second-quarter revenue outside the U.S., the highest proportion ever, Viniar said. Goldman has the fourth-largest staff among the five biggest Wall Street firms, all based in New York. Merrill Lynch & Co. had the most with 60,300 as of March 30 and Morgan Stanley employed 57,845 as of Feb. 28. Morgan Stanley discloses quarterly numbers next week and Merrill Lynch reports next month. Lehman, Bear Stearns Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the third-largest employer, reported that it set aside $5.21 billion for compensation and benefits in the first half, up 20 percent from a year earlier, while employees rose 21 percent to 28,323. That cut average pay 1.7 percent to $183,808 per person. Bear Stearns Cos. said today it employs 15,120 people, 21 percent more than a year earlier, and that compensation costs rose 7.4 percent to $2.44 billion. On that basis, average pay fell 11 percent to $161,078. Investment banks typically set aside 40 percent to 50 percent of revenue to cover salaries, benefits and end-of-year bonuses. Goldman's revenue fell 1 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the first decline in two years. Wall Street pay awards vary depending on an employee's position, with top people earning more than $10 million. Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein was the highest-paid CEO on Wall Street last year, receiving $54 million.