J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s third-quarter results highlight a Wall Street juggling act: how to contain costs amid soft growth and volatile markets without losing highly paid, sought-after workers.

The New York company’s investment bank showed a 12% rise in compensation expense in the period ended Sept. 30, to $2.07 billion, while headcount in the unit fell by 3% from a year earlier to 25,884…

The average salary paid to New York City securities-industry employees continues to climb, reaching $362,950 in 2011, according to the report. But Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm, said pay is rising primarily because financial firms have been aggressively cutting costs.

“If the banks hadn’t gotten rid of people, compensation would be flat,” Mr. Johnson said. He expects 2012 Wall Street pay to rise 5% from a year earlier.

The Wall Street Journal / October 12, 2012