60+ Hours/Week: Outlier or a New Normal?

Out of curiosity, wanted to see if anyone else has noticed any general trends in the work/life balance of corporate finance. I'm in CFin at the moment and am interviewing around, and have had one or two companies (F250) tell me many finance employees average 55-65 hours a week, which is higher than what nearly all of my connections in CFin work, as well as myself. These firms preach a strong "meritocracy" culture and claim everyone "grinds" like they're wannabe high finance, even in seemingly basic finance roles. For example, an F100 firm that is trying to get me into a basic financial analyst/unit FP&A role is pitching 60+ hours a week but with a large performance bonus and the guise that "you can do anything here if you push yourself."

Companies are obviously striving to cut costs where they can, but has anyone else noticed that some internal roles that were once considered decent, maybe even a little cushy, with <50 hours a week, are now adding hours to positions in an attempt to improve productivity per resource and decrease costs? For those in CFin looking to stay or move out (myself), it's certainly unappealing to look around and notice that salaries are the same as they were (less than 'prestigious' finance roles), but the hours are going up and the exit opps remain the same.

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Apr 4, 2018

Most of my friends who work in Corp. Fin (in F250 companies) work much less than that, so it probably just depends on the culture/industry/maybe even the geographical location of the company (the people I'm talking about work in the South so it might be different up north or on the West Coast). What I've noticed is that people love to exaggerate the number of hours they generally put in, so those 60+ hours might just mean 40-50 in reality with a few busy periods here and there (like the end of a month/quarter/fiscal year).

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Apr 4, 2018

I'm at a F250 A&D company. In my first rotation (last year), everyone worked right around 40 hours. My manager initially claimed he worked 60ish hours a week, but without fail he would show up at 7 and leave at 4.. Sometimes during the crazy weeks he'd be there til 6. But since he was on the 9/80 schedule, I'd say his weekly average was no more than 45 hours. For me personally, I worked exactly 40 hours, and during that time I'd say I averaged 20 hours of actual work and 20 hours of twittling my thumbs, trying to look busy if anyone walked by.

In my second (current) rotation in FP&A, things have been a little more busy, but in my worst week I worked 55 hours. I'd say that I've been averaging closer to 45-50 per week, and I'm typically one of the last to leave (along with my manager and director).

Back in my internship (F1000 apparel) it seemed that everyone worked 40 hours, and maybe up to 50 during close.

Long story short- Seems that the hours aren't too demanding. It could be the industry, or the locations I've been in, but in my experience, anyone lower than a director doesn't work more than 55 hours during the worst weeks.

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Apr 6, 2018

Agreed, I'm at a midsize company in FP&A and generally work 9 to 5. Maybe 1 weekend day a month, on average, for a few hours. People definitely exaggerate. If you're working > 40 hours in this role, you're probably doing it wrong (i.e., efficiency could be improved).

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Apr 4, 2018

Agreed with the above, when month end gets busy, I can see people putting in 50+ hours. Otherwise, for most corp fin roles, I'd say 40 is still the norm, with people exaggerating the hours put in. This has been my experience in two different roles, both F250 industrial companies with smaller finance departments (10-15 people specifically in accounting/finance at both offices)

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Apr 4, 2018

Yeah I'd agree the long hours might be inflated by the recruiters/employees who want to impress. Was certainly a shock to hear 60+ was consistent, although the companies might just be poorly run and they have an aggressively low headcount.

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Apr 4, 2018

I would be really careful in assuming the recruiters are trying to impress because mentioning that a job requires 60+ hours per week doesn't sound impressive at all to the average person. When I was interviewing at my current firm, they told me the job required "extreme hours", which I laughed off thinking they were working until 7 PM thinking it was the end of the world. Instead, everyone stays past 9 PM almost every day.

Apr 4, 2018

I have worked at two separate firms in corp dev with a night and day difference between hours. My first firm was a F1000 that rarely kept me past 6 PM with maybe an hour or two of weekend work once every other month. My current firm is a F500 and keeps me past 9 PM every night with regular weekend work (probably 60-70 hours total each week with 80-hour weeks once every other month). Most groups at my present firm work significantly longer hours than the same groups did at my old firm. We of course have high turnover as a result. I think hours are extremely firm- and culture-dependent.

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Apr 4, 2018

yo @Sil - you land a new gig??

Apr 4, 2018

Yup. Unfortunately, got caught up in a massive round of layoffs at the first firm, but was able to land on my feet.

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Apr 5, 2018

I hope you're getting paid solidly for this, or at least see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Apr 5, 2018

Would be curious to know if pay is correlated to time worked as well.

Both of my Corp dev roles have averaged 50 hours a week, with an occasional week or two being longer during a deal or preparing a Board deck.

Apr 5, 2018

I can add that it is very group and industry dependent. We have some teams who put in 40-45 hours a week and some who are closer to 55-60.

This applies to Treasury and FP&A at my firm; you would hope the compensation follows those who work more but I'm not sure it's that simple.

Apr 6, 2018

I worked in FLDP at a Fortune 50 - I don't think I ever worked more than 45 hours a week. Weekend work simply did not happen. Low pay.

I transitioned to a F500 as an SFA and work 50 hours a week for higher pay. Never work weekends. The worst week I've had here was probably 55 hours.

Apr 6, 2018

Interned at F50 that led into their FLDP program. In my division, around half the people stayed till 7/8pm in a FP&A role. It was a wake up call to see the hours put in and personally thought it was completely unnecessary.

Apr 6, 2018

Wow, that's a lot. Mind telling us what industry this was?

Apr 7, 2018

Financial Services. Also, interviewed with one of their competitors and was told hours would be similar.

I will say that there was a large variance in hours worked between groups on my floor and between different departments.

Apr 6, 2018

Hello thank you all.

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Apr 6, 2018

I think the notion that "people say they work way more than they actually do" applies heavily in really any Finance / Banking role. I was speaking with a CFin family friend of mine and he said people just like to claim they are working hard. Work that SHOULD take 40 hours to complete might end up taking these people 60 - 65 hour weeks to complete because the whole "working more = better" mentality is fucking in their DNA. Last thing anyone wants to do is hire someone that turns 40 hours of work into 65 hours of work just to "look cool".

Apr 7, 2018

Are you saying that people are intentionally staying in the office longer and taking longer on assignments when they could leave earlier every day?

Apr 7, 2018

No. Taking on assignments would justify longer hours. I'm saying people are just inherently allowing themselves to be inefficient to sort of "fit in" to the culture of telling people "yeah I worked a rough 80 hour week" when in reality there are other's getting similar work done in say 60 hour weeks. They think they make themselves look better by "working hard" but in reality they should be working smarter. Granted they may not be doing that on purpose. People could have weaker technical skills / fuck something up that requires them to redo a book etc.

Apr 7, 2018

Up to 50 hours/week here

Apr 7, 2018

In a midsize (<$1B revenue) company, my analysts/seniors are expected to work 50/week. One or two weeks a month will be ~60 (I.e. month-end reporting cycles). When prepping for a larger event, they'll hit 70-80 (e.g. board/bank/credit rating meetings, acquisitions, strategic planning, annual budgeting).

At the director-level, I work 7-7 every weekday regardless of any event. I usually work a few hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings as well. So, all-in, I'm consistently ~70.

In past roles, I've averaged 80+/weeks in F50 strategy and ~60/weeks in F250 FP&A. So, to address the OP, 60 is normal from my perspective.

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Apr 7, 2018
pplstuff:

In a midsize (<$1B revenue) company, my analysts/seniors are expected to work 50/week. One or two weeks a month will be ~60 (I.e. month-end reporting cycles). When prepping for a larger event, they'll hit 70-80 (e.g. board/bank/credit rating meetings, acquisitions, strategic planning, annual budgeting).

At the director-level, I work 7-7 every weekday regardless of any event. I usually work a few hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings as well. So, all-in, I'm consistently ~70.

In past roles, I've averaged 80+/weeks in F50 strategy and ~60/weeks in F250 FP&A. So, to address the OP, 60 is normal from my perspective.

Are you just in-efficient or just trying to show that you work more? 80+ weeks in any corporate job sounds insane.

Apr 7, 2018

Seriously, this. Wtf could anyone possibly be doing in a a corp strategy role to consistently work 80hrs a week?

This is the exact reason why workplaces get toxic and I'd bet dude expects these kinds of hours from his current underlings for no obvious reason other than "well I had to do it when I was younger."

Apr 25, 2018

What industry is it for? I might be able to help if since I think I know who you're talking about.

Apr 25, 2018

This was a F200 consumer products/goods firm. I gathered from future discussions that they weren't BS-ing the hours and that they were really 60+ most weeks, mostly driven due to a lean headcount coupled with what appeared to be a lot of turnover, constant internal role changes, and loss of knowledge within the organization.

I turned down the role mainly because I wasn't very interested in the actual position and its responsibilities, but the other red flags didn't help either.

Apr 26, 2018

dm me, i know what company it is and i can help

Apr 25, 2018

I work back office at a F500 basically doing reconciliation. We went through a bad time last year because we have a bunch of clowns running the joint. I always thought I was exaggerating my hours when I talked to others about how "bad" my job was/is. I went back and charted every single day I've worked there - I worked an average of 55 hours per week for most of the the last year. I went 12 months without a week dropping below 50 hours. It sucked. (And I know the IB folks are saying boo hoo, but this is a job that shouldn't take more than 45 on a bad week).

Then, out of nowhere, the hours dropped to less than 45 a week this month. No rhyme, no reason. Perhaps the worst part of all this was when I was interviewing with recruiters. They blamed me for the long hours as if I had control over the workflow.

And those who say the long hours are a badge of honor to some? Oh yeah. In my office, one guy will let you know you don't work as many hours as him. He purposely works on the weekend just to say he did. Why work 40 - 45 hours when you can bitch and moan about working the same amount of hours over 6 days?

Apr 26, 2018

F500 FLDP in Tech here (NYC/SF). I'd say that hours are entirely group dependent. My current role is 50 hours a week but can hit 60-70 at Plan time or quarterly review time including weekends. Prior role was 40 hrs a week and no weekends. Current role is more hours but much more interesting work. Also current role is a bit of an outlier at my company, other corporate groups are more in the 40-50 range at the analyst level. I have friends in similar roles at smaller tech companies who also put in the same type of hours.

It comes down to the fact that I directly support the CFO of a BU who easily works 80 hrs a week because that's just his personality. When that's the case it creates more work for the entire team.

Apr 26, 2018
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