Are hours in IB a lot more relaxed these days?

_A few years ago I would often hear FT analysts at networking events talk about having to work 80+ hours regularly, especially when everyone was WFH. Now it sounds like hours have become more reasonable / relaxed on most weeks. Based on a recent survey, it looks like 80% of people are working less than 70 hours in IB, with nearly 40% working 40-50 hours weekly.  

This is generally how hours for analysts are at my group as well, but at a small group in a middle market where our team emphasizes creating a culture where WLB is prioritized.   

Thoughts on how it is in other teams?


 

Yes - with the hybrid / WFH schedules, it looks like hours have become more manageable especially for junior folk from what I've seen. Most analysts on my team head home after 7pm to either WFH or log out for the day. There is less emphasis on in-office facetime culture, where you'd historically have analysts sitting around staring at their screen until 11pm waiting for their associates to head home

 

Facetime is the most insulting thing in banks.

Problem is associates and even some VPs are really still just kids (24-26 year olds) and they set the culture despite not even being mature enough yet to not want to pass on the abuse they suffered to those under them.

 

24-26 is not a kid wtf? tired of this shirking of responsibility through infantalization I see going on. They are just bad people with no leadership ability

 

In my group most of us head home around 6-7pm, eat dinner, do some PE interview prep until 11pm, then send out some deliverable to the associate at 12am and log out 

 
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Lol my class was similar - just remember, if the average analyst in your class is an A+ analyst, you'd be bottom bucket if you're an A- analyst

However, if the average analyst in your class is a B- analyst, you'd have to be a C analyst to be bottom bucket.  

 

I remember as an analyst 2 there was a superstar analyst 3 who was operating at the level of a top bucket associate in terms of responsibilities/work product and we all cheered when he exited 3 months before bonus.

 

Lol sounds like it works like a grading curve in a college class. There's not really much incentive these days for people to be top bucket when people are getting sub 50k bonus regardless of their performance. Have heard numbers like 2.5k for first years at some places recently

 

Nearly all analysts in my group are working around 50 hours / week right now, wouldn’t be surprised if this is how it is in other groups.

Also at a middle market

 

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had to work weekends, feel blessed. Rarely working past 7pm most days. However, dealing with clients that are either extremely slow at data dumps or wary of rates and not in a rush

 
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At tier 3 international bank in NY, hours blow, consistent 80+ weeks. Depends on your group

 
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At an EB regional office.. we're getting obliterated, I'm surprised to hear so many folks here are nowhere near as busy.

 

Also in a regional EB office and feel similarly. 

If anything I think WFH has made it worse, especially on the West Coast. Due to cross-staffing with East Coast team I need to be online by 7:30 or 8, albeit at home. I know analysts in our other WC office have to do the same... 

EBs just suck

 

Sounds like Boutiques are always sweaty regardless if it’s an eb or a regional shop 

 

Yes, I'm at a west coast office too and it's easily 7:30am - 1/2am Monday through Thursday...

 

I would imagine it’s group, bank and days in office dependent. Only going off my buddies stories but it sounds like when in the office during a light or average work load, you may have time where you’re just sitting around waiting to do work and then it gets sent to you hours later at a Bull shit time? So total hours worked can be 40 on a week but if I’m office you spent 10-12 hours there each day but when home you might only think of literal hours spent working on a deliverable.

 

Thought it was just me, working from like 8-5 or 6, workout and dinner, PE prep for a few hours. Have had nights till midnight once or twice but normally then the day was slow and just had an assignment given later. Have rarely had weekend work. Also have friends in groups getting wrecked till past midnight or 1-2am like 4-5 days a week. Variance is high, feel lucky. 

 

Yup, mostly been able to log out by 7pm or so on most evenings and wfh if anything remaining. Not sure why others are working until 1-2am regularly. Would think some could in an understaffed team however

 

The people I know with those hours are at groups that just keep pitching bullshit or have old fashioned people

 

IMO one shouldn’t care about their bonus until mid-30s.

It’s a wash compared to late-career earnings and you should care more about brand name to set yourself up to be in best position to make late-career money.

 

Usually work from 10am to 6 or 7pm.

Would say some people I know in other firms have much longer hours, others have similar hours.

Some of this comes down to efficiency and time management. Some people are significantly more effective with their time than others

 

At a LMM PE shop, in office 7:30-8ish most days and occasionally something small when i get home. No weekends unless something urgent comes up that needs to get dealt with, but that seems to be the seniors stuff not my grunt work.

 
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Hi OP - good topic. As someone in his early 30s who was in IB (now in PE) I would 1000% say in my experience that hours have got much better post-pandemic. Admittedly I have become more senior over the past several years, however I think that isn't the main driver but rather a change in culture/work views (which imho is a massive positive, with only a couple of drawbacks). Here's some things which have massively changed in my experience:

Face time culture dramatically dropped away during the pandemic for obvious reasons. If you read any old posts on here, you will see that analysts/associates being in the office until 10-12pm was extremely common, even if there wasn't a huge amount of work going on. I.e. if your associate was still grinding away, you were implicitly expected to hang around in case you're needed later on, and secondly to observe and learn about what they're doing. On the hand, in my experience this was a great way to learn in IB - being "forced" to stay late even when you didn't have much on meant you passed the time by catching up on other less urgent work you needed to do, observing the associate and learning a lot by osmosis, and also building camaraderie with your colleagues (assuming they're decent people). However overall I'm very glad for juniors that it has dropped away - as looking back now it's a rather unfair and inefficient use of juniors' time. Yes it might not mean you're quite as good an analyst, but you'll get a lot of your evenings back (subject to making sure you're available to log in if needed) and the long-term impact on your career trajectory will probably be negligent tbh assuming you still work hard the rest of the time.

Also it always felt to me like a low-level "hazing" experience, i.e. often associates/VPs felt that just because their evening had to be in the office then so should their analysts, i.e. they had to share in the suffering. Of course stuff rolls down hill and if an associate can save his/her own evening by delegating the work to an analyst thereby blowing up their evening, that's fair enough. But often analysts were stuck in the office with very little to do except twiddle their thumbs just so they appeared "committed". However now that associates and VPs can leave at 7 to wfh, so can analysts, which is a good thing in my view.

- Weekend work in the office went away honestly, this always seemed mad to me even pre-Covid. Of course weekend work is to be a frequently expected thing in IBbut why couldn't you just log in from home? Tbf my IB nearly always allowed me to wfh at weekends, but I'd frequently read stories on here about analysts/associates being dragged into the office on a Saturday by their VP (there's lots of older posts on here asking "what is the dress code for going into the office on Saturday" etc). So the fact that most if not all bankers can do their weekend work from home post-pandemic is fantastic, and tbh should have happened long ago even before the pandemic (this is 2023 not 1993 after all, the technology has existed enabling people to log in remotely for 25+ years now lol).

- Daytime activities are now more tolerated. Maybe others' experiences differed here, but at my firm it was heavily frowned upon if you ducked out to go to the gym for an hour at lunch, and if you left the office at 6 to have dinner with your spouse/kids before logging in at home, if you were below VP-level that would have practically been career suicide. However as everyone was working remotely during the pandemic, without the same level of in-person supervision people (including myself) found themselves able to fit in regular gym sessions, yoga classes, therapy etc without needing to explicitly clear it with superiors each time.

Now don't get me wrong - as a first-year analyst you probably shouldn't be doing this regularly, and anyone ducking out frequently when you have a live deal/tons of work on will find themselves (fairly) being frowned upon - but equally even with RTO if you find yourself with tons of downtime during the day, I don't think most people will care now if you decide to go to the gym for an hour, provided you don't abuse it. This sounds small but I can imagine it makes IB much more tolerable over the medium/long-term, i.e. you're not expected to completely neglect your personal/outside life during the work week.

- Attitudes to work have changed during the pandemic. Now don't get me wrong, I think those "anti-work" idiots on Reddit etc are completely deluded - especially in IB/PEyour main contribution is your time - especially at the beginning of your career when you have almost no knowledge/experience to contribute except being a body available to put in 50, 60, 70, 80hr weeks. Also that's how you learn ultimately - there are no shortcuts especially in this industry, so you'll never be doing a 9-5 and earning IB/PE money until very late in your career (and maybe never).

That being said - some of the stuff junior people in this industry did pre-pandemic was in retrospect bordering on madness (note I include myself here). I'm talking about kids working 90-120hr weeks on a regular basis, and tragic instances of suicides/deaths over the years which likely at least had some link to the crazy workload. And for what? An extra $30-40k a year extra in your bonus before taxes?? I realize that might seem a lot of money to the college kids on here, but you're already on a decent salary in IB - it really isn't worth f*cking up your health for a bit more money in the short-term.

And that segues into a similar issue - the cost of everything has gone up massively during the pandemic, primarily housing. So ultimately even if you slave away and do 100+ hr weeks for years, you won't have a house 2x as large as your fellow analyst who did 60-70hr weeks. So what I'm saying is especially post-pandemic people in this industry are realizing that whilst you of course have to work hard, past a certain point there are rapidly diminishing returns when it comes to working crazy hours. I mean you mess up your physical and mental health so you can buy an extra Rolex, or a few more pairs of Gucci loafers?? It just doesn't seem worth it (although this is just imho, others may disagree here).

​​​​​​​Having said all of there above, there are a few caveats. As I said earlier, learning by osmosis (i.e. sitting next to colleagues in the office) was a ​​​​​​​massively helpful learning mechanism in my view, even if it was a bit inefficient. And it did also help foster camaraderie with my fellow analy