WSO 2022 Investment Banking Work-Conditions Survey (Part 1/3)

Table of Contents

Part 1  – CURRENT VERSION

  • Overall 2022 results     
  • Quotes from employees at various firms

Part 2 (Thursday April 14th) – View Here

  • Comparison of 10 different banks (JPM, Goldman, Citi, Deutche, BofA, Jefferies, Barclays, RBC, Macquarie and Suntrust)
  • A closer look at which banks performed best/worst across various categories
  • Quotes from employees at these banks

Part 3 (Thursday April 21st)

  • Comparisons between 2021 and 2022
  • Deep dive on what has improved, what has worsened and what has stayed the same since 2021

Message from Patrick Curtis

Wall Street Oasis at its core is a community of students trying to break into careers in finance and young finance professionals trying to thrive and build meaningful careers.  For years, we have been frustrated by the lack of change at the investment banks and have tried to bring transparency to the realities of the job.

This includes releasing detailed data on # of average hours worked by bank in the WSO Company Database as well as other lifestyle metrics the candidates have used for years to help them make informed decisions.  Unfortunately, this has done little to curb some of the banks with the worst reputation since there are still many more qualified candidates than seats in the industry.

Inspired by the report released by the Goldman 13 and some of the concessions we are seeing, we decided to conduct a wider industry wide survey and publish the results outside of the database so that we can hopefully continue to shine a light on some of the worst parts of the industry.   We all know with Covid and WFH, the chain of threads on WSO over the past year has shown that the current situation at many banks is not sustainable.

Our hope is that publishing these numbers continues to get the attention of leadership and try to reduce the mental abuse at the junior levels that is still far too common.  We still strongly believe that investment banking is an incredible career and leads to a very attractive set of options, however, we want to make sure we put the mental health and safety of our community first.

This is the 2nd annual report and in Part 3, we will include comparisons to the 2021 report found here.

Summary

  • The survey was taken by 485 banking professionals during March 2022
  • 52% of respondents said they are not satisfied with their current compensation
  • 14% have averaged 91 work hours or more during 2022 (4% at 101 hours+)
  • 33% have averaged 5 hours of sleep or less per night in 2022
  • 25% have averaged a 2am bedtime or later in 2022
  • 54% say they aren't happy with the meal stipend their bank provides
  • 25% say they feel like they've been a victim of workplace abuse
  • 66% say they frequently experienced unrealistic deadlines
  • 75% say their work hours have negatively affected relationships with family and/or friends
  • Respondents report a 28% decline in mental health and a 33% decline in physical health (comparing health before starting their current job with now)
  • Avg sleep hours per night by city: Boston 5.9, Chicago 6.3, Houston 5.4, LA 6.2, London 5.8, NYC 5.9, SF 5.9, Toronto 6.2 (survey avg is 6 hours)
  • Avg hours of work per week by city: Chicago 76.2, London 78, NYC 78.8 (survey average is 76.4)
  • Avg sleep hours per night by group: Generalist 6, M&A 5.9, TMT 6.1, Healthcare 6, Industrials 6 (survey avg is 6 hours) 
  • Avg hours of work per week by group: Generalist 77, M&A 73.7, TMT 77.9, Healthcare 77.4, Industrials 78.8 (survey average is 76.4)
  • Avg sleep hours per night by type of bank: BB 5.7, MM 6.2, Boutique 6.1 (survey avg is 6 hours)

Demographic Breakdown

demographics

banks cities groups

Hours

"While I currently work less than 70 hours a week because of the prevalent work load, I am expected to go to 90+ when it's required with limited appreciation for doing so." – Associate, Generalist, IB

"Tight labor market and a growing business hitting the analysts hard. 100 Valuations in 6 week window quarterly. Was promised 70 upon hiring. This is the new status quo and execs are gas lighting about how bad it is." Analyst, Lincoln International

Hours worked

WFH and Pay

"Pay sucks! Well below market, they're a bunch of cheapskates!" – First year analyst, FIG, BB

"Workload is very manageable, but comp is insanely under market. Is hard to stay when the market is so hot and comp is so high for banking / PE." Second year analyst, M&A, Boutique

"WFH is great when hours are lax. During busy weeks it's hell, you don't get up from your seat for 12 hours but you're in your own home and mentally that doesn't put you in a good place." – Analyst, PNC Financial Services

wfh and pay

Treatment and Culture

"A few extremely toxic apples at the senior levels who are overly protected by the firm. Should be fired and then culture will improve." – Associate, Industrials, Elite Boutique

"Team is a gem. But not all the teams are equal. Also much depending on staffing and personal behaviour. You have to set boundaries and boundaries get respected or you get eaten to the bone." – Third year analyst, Industrials, Elite Boutique

treatment

"The initial passion and desire to work at my boutique was immediately extinguished 3-4 months in, this field is progressively becoming more toxic and I should not have shunned my well-wishers in terms of their advice about IB work life balance, no matter the comp." – First year analyst, Real Estate, Boutique

treatment 2

Mental and Physical Health

"Developed severe anxiety." – First year analyst, C&R, BB

"M&A turns people into sociopaths." – First year analyst, Generalist, Boutique

health

Retention and Satisfaction

"Complete lack of respect of personal time and lack of push back to unreasonable / unnecessary client deadlines. Comp could double YoY and I still would not stay at my firm / current role." – Analyst, Jefferies & Company

"Analyst turnover and lack of sufficient Associate talent has been the most challenging dynamic." – VP, Industrials, MM

"You should know what you're getting into. It sucks but at this point you should know." – VP, Brown Brothers Harriman

retention satisfaction

Select Analyst Quotes - Bulge Brackets

"I might have the best team in banking tbh." – Analyst, Société Générale

"Stop taking so many small deals." – Analyst, Credit Suisse

"No free coffee, feel like that would solve a solid amount." – Associate, Credit Suisse

"Tech across all banks get crushed. My mental health was much lower 6 months into the job (first 3 m&a deals all at same time) than it is now (1+ years in)." – Analyst, Barclays Capital

"Guys, they do not know what the world 'respect' means." – Intern, Morgan Stanley

"Poor career prospects, always losing pitches, not a fun place to be. Not enough stimulating work - spent months just working on trading comps." – Analyst, HSBC

"UBS = the Cornell of the BBs." – Associate, UBS AG

"No free coffee, feel like that would solve a solid amount." – Associate, Credit Suisse

"Lowest morale have seen in my time here." – Associate, Morgan Stanley

Select Analyst Quotes - Middle Market

"Rough hours due to small team and a ton of dealflow." – Analyst, Piper Sandler

"Awesome WLB / culture, mediocre experience / exits." – Analyst, Bank of Montreal

"Hours are terrible but fantastic learning experience and overall great team in Baird Industrials." – Analyst, Robert W. Baird & Co.

"We hired too many ppl. not enough work to go around. think not j my group but also at least one other coverage group has skim deal flow for the amt of ppl on the team. Dont feel immeresed in IB yet bc work life balance too good. am I learning enough? I dont think so." Analyst, BNP Paribas

"It's a great culture, tone from the top is excellent." – Associate, Janney Montgomery Scott

"WFH is not well seen by MDs, leading to FaceTime sometimes." – Intern, Rothschild

"Need to hire more people. We are stretched paper thin." – Associate, Industrials, MM

"Comp has to improve for the uptick in hours/deals." – Associate, Stout Risius Ross

"Really depends on the people. Attrition impacts everyone. Need better hours, more awareness of downstream impact." – Analyst, KeyBanc Capital Markets

Select Analyst Quotes - Boutiques

"Workload is nuts, nobody works." – Analyst, Boutique

"Boutique is more work than bulge but less stress about political BS." VP, M&A

"Senior management is great about enforcing protected weekends and ensuring junior team has a balanced workload. Solid culture." – Third year analyst, TMT, Boutique

"My group is extremely smart at my bank. There are some real imbeciles in other groups though." – VP, Public Finance, Boutique

"It is good. I live and make money. Only had my lunch taken once on job site." First year analyst, Leveraged Finance, Boutique

"Lots of work, but with the ability to mostly set my own deadlines (within reason). Lazy, checked out VPs with a small hazing streak have made life harder at times. Highly political environment, but possible to rise above it all. Junior abusers have been well handled by management and it is no longer an issue of late. Health and number of hours have been difficult to manage. Cash compensation last year was highly disappointing and poorly handled. Compensation is improving due to retention issues." – Associate, Real Estate, Boutique

"I'm at a good firm the has really great work product and does a really amazing job compared to all the other banks we have come across when co-advising or working on a deal after. It's a great place to learn. Middle management all does great work, but isn't very good at managing people - which is my biggest complaint and stressor. Pay could be better too." – Second year analyst, Industrials, Boutique

"Great culture, super interesting deals, growing team, and hybrid system is great for Friday-Sunday." – First year analyst, Healthcare, Boutique

"Lots of work, but with the ability to mostly set my own deadlines (within reason). Lazy, checked out VPs with a small hazing streak have made life harder at times. Highly political environment, but possible to rise above it all. Junior abusers have been well handled by management and it is no longer an issue of late. Health and number of hours have been difficult to manage. Cash compensation last year was highly disappointing and poorly handled. Compensation is improving due to retention issues." – Associate, Real Estate, Boutique

"Some weeks are light, some are absolutely hell. I have gotten to travel to pitches which is cool." – Analyst, Evercore

Part Two - Bank Specific Data

You can view part two here on Thursday April 14th.

Part Three - Comparisons Between 2021 and 2022

You can view part three here on Thursday April 21st

P.S. A big thank you to @AndyLouis, Jacob Nave-Newell and Josh Bañuelos for helping prepare this report.

Comments (16)

Apr 7, 2022 - 9:00pm
AndyLouis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Coverage in business insider! https://www.businessinsider.com/wall-street-oasis-survey-of-investment-banker-satisfaction-wfh-abuse-2022-4

WSO Content & Social Media. Follow us: Linkedin, IG, Facebook, Twitter.

  • 1
Apr 7, 2022 - 9:53pm
poignant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Man this was a depressing and masochistic read. Thanks for doing this Patrick.

  • Trader in S&T - Equities
Apr 8, 2022 - 4:53pm

How is SocGen in bulge bracket and BNPP in middle market?

Apr 8, 2022 - 9:50pm
whatamidoinghere, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How can people on average sleep around 12 am, yet only report 6 hours of sleep? That's misleading or wrong. People in any job can report how many hours they sleep and it seem very low but that's by choice. Thoughts?

Apr 9, 2022 - 9:05am
IB-9ari0, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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