Reminder that banks don't really care about junior employees

Look at this joke response after one of the analysts (anonymously of course) posed this question to my firm's CEO and CFO as part of our quarterly Q&A sessions. Half of the initiatives cited are just straight up not enforced at all. Note that my bank is not one of those with protected Saturdays. We also don't have an outsourced graphics team or even somebody who is always in the office to handle printing books. This is at a well established MM:

Question: "What steps have been taken to remediate the extremely high turn over within junior level investment bankers?

Response: We are focused on retaining talented junior level investment bankers. We routinely benchmark our retention rates against peer firms. Addressing involuntary turnover of junior bankers - notwithstanding whether it can be reasonably defined as "extremely high" -- is an issue we have wrestled with for several years. We have tried to address the problem in a number of ways: (1) work life balance initiatives, (2) enhancing the experience of each junior banker, (3) adding training modules, and (4) reviewing mentorship programs to rollout this summer.

Over the past couple of years we have rolled out work/life balance initiatives including protected weekends and no new staffing after noon on Friday's. The roll out of those initiatives happened to coincide with the busiest period in the history of the firm as evidenced by our back-to-back record years in banking......so to many of you, you may not have seen or felt much benefit. We remain committed to this program and will continue to push for compliance across banking. We have also hired our two largest analysts/associate classes in the past two years to try to address workloads with additional headcount.

Our junior bankers want a great experience - to most that means getting real reps on live deals and not doing busy work or constantly working on pitches. I think we're delivering on this point and given the consistent interest from PE firms in our analysts, we know that we are developing a group of young professionals with highly marketable skills.

A good experience also relates to the individual's work environment - specifically are they getting appropriate training and mentoring, are communications regular and does everyone feel like they are part of a team where their contributions are valued.

-During 2015, we added a training module for Associate 1s who were promoted to Associate II
-A supplementary training session in August to continue helping new analysts and associates transition to investment banking modeling
-During 2016, we are adding a 3rd day intern training session
-We are rolling out a mentorship program to incoming full-time and intern hires so they have a banker to speak with and share their feedback
-We are hosting VP and Associate training sessions late this summer

The retention of our employees is a key priority for everyone on the leadership team. We would be happy to hear from junior staff to address any concerns and continue to improve the work environment."

Comments (32)

May 23, 2016

When a bank says, "We routinely benchmark our retention rates against peer firms," it's very easy for it to say that it cares about junior employees. Reminds me of university endowment fund managers who have a crappy year but justify their 7 figure salaries by saying, "Well, we did better than most other funds!"

Those slimy, reptilian motherfuckers.

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May 23, 2016

A whole third day of training for the interns?? That's truly an unprecedented display of character from senior management.

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May 23, 2016

To bank management, high turnover is a feature, not a bug. They don't have enough Associate and VP positions to keep all of you.

May 24, 2016

What do you want, a cookie

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May 24, 2016

What do you want him to say?

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Best Response
May 24, 2016

OP is a perfect example of entitlement.

What did you expect? Did you want the CEO to suck you off on a stage in front of your peers as he pleads "OH GOD PLEASE DON'T LEAVE, OH MY YOU 22 YEAR OLD POST COLLEGE TEST TAKERS ARE SO VALUABLE TO OUR ORGANIZATION."

Let's flip the tables, do you care about your bank? Do you know shit about it besides league table rankings? Would you tell Blackstone to fuck off if they gave you a $1mm guaranteed offer tomorrow? Or would you just jump ship and ask the next firm's CEO if they value you as a junior paper pusher you ungrateful disloyal piece of crap?

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May 24, 2016

How do you feel when you write about upsides from cost cutting initiatives or cost synergies in your glossy IMs OP? You realise investment banking is a business right?

May 24, 2016

Really confused what else your expecting. As someone who also works at a "well established" MM bank, I'll tell you that not having graphics/printing is not unique to your MM bank.

And I don't really like pulling the "I walk to school uphill both ways in a driving snowstorm" but be thankful you have protected weekends / no friday afternoon staffings; that a luxury we are not afforded...

May 24, 2016

As I mentioned in the post a lot of those initiatives are not actually taken seriously. I don't know a single person who adheres to the no staffing after noon on Fridays policy. Our once a quarter protected weekends depending on the group aren't really followed either. It's just like look, don't pretend you give a shit when you obviously don't. That's more frustrating than just going in knowing you'll get shit on for 2 years.

A whole extra day of intern training? Oh my god what a benefit! Stuff like having somebody who is in on the weekends to print books would actually be helpful.

May 24, 2016

No i hear ya and it would certainly be nice to have some of those things and it sucks that senior management is apparently saying one thing and doing another, but I'm still confused what you were expecting. I think most bankers have at least a basic understanding that analyst life sucks and that's why they pay 100K+ for workers who don't generate any direct revenue.

As Anarchy stated, the business model expects high turnover; there are only so many associate/vp/svp/etc spots to fill and the number gets smaller as you move up the ladder. And while perks like protected weekends and a printing staff would be nice, they are probably not going to have any significant impact on retention of top talent. As has been discussed ad naseum on this site, banking isn't really that complicated once you get over the initial learning curve and your rock star analysts are going to have the opportunity to make way more money in PE, HF or Corp Dev (maybe not more money here, but a better lifestyle as you won't be at a client's beck and call). Until retention becomes so low that they don't have enough competent people to move to the next rung in the ladder, I wouldn't expect any drastic changes to the treatment of junior employees.

I know some banks have done a better job of implementing some of these perks than others, but at the end of the day you're probably making >2x the pay of your fellow classmates and they probably feel the same way about the senior management at their firms

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May 24, 2016

It's very similar to Big 4 for accounting. The business model relies on long hours, high turnover, and a line of students begging for a job. It's a bit foolish to think senior management is going to make an effort to give 23 year olds their Friday nights back.

When you sign up for IB you know what you're getting. The long hours are part of what makes the experience so valuable. You don't get 100k/yr at 23 going home at 4pm on a Tuesday.

May 24, 2016
Anarchyz11:

It's very similar to Big 4 for accounting. The business model relies on long hours, high turnover, and a line of students begging for a job. It's a bit foolish to think senior management is going to make an effort to give 23 year olds their Friday nights back.

When you sign up for IB you know what you're getting. The long hours are part of what makes the experience so valuable. You don't get 100k/yr at 23 going home at 4pm on a Tuesday.

not so subtle big4 prestige trolling....

May 24, 2016

You can: be a software engineer or associate product manager at a big tech co or unicorn.

May 24, 2016

The people working at companies that pay that kind of denaro starting out are definitely working long hours. There's a reason they give you a sleeping bag if you go to work for Microsoft.

May 24, 2016
Anarchyz11:

It's very similar to Big 4 for accounting. The business model relies on long hours, high turnover, and a line of students begging for a job. It's a bit foolish to think senior management is going to make an effort to give 23 year olds their Friday nights back.

When you sign up for IB you know what you're getting. The long hours are part of what makes the experience so valuable. You don't get 100k/yr at 23 going home at 4pm on a Tuesday.

Big 4 Sucks. It is half the work and half the pay of IB with twice the handholding. Therefore, you are half the man and twice the pussy at big 4 compared to IB.

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May 25, 2016

yup yup i looked through the backup, this math checks out

May 24, 2016

"Our junior bankers want a great experience - to most that means getting real reps on live deals"

I thought it was referred to as revs, as I read elsewhere on WSO.

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May 24, 2016

OP, ** microagression trigger warning **: No companies actually care about their employees and no employees actually care about their employers... stop looking to be coddled

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May 24, 2016

Triggered

May 24, 2016

Junior employees who complain like this puzzle me.

3 years of study of business and finance

Then get a job working in banking, spend ~20 hours a day looking at business and finance

In some cases, go out to bars or on the internet and pour scorn on others who haven't built the same package of ostensible success

Yet still display complete lack of understanding of how the business of banking operates in relation to its employees

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May 25, 2016

what bank is this about..? Piper?

regardless come on people (@NuclearPenguins) how many times do you have to hear that the job is tough before you get it? If anything, existing analysts over sell how hard it is / the hours worked.

How people hear horror stories and then are surprised by the horror they encounter is beyond me. Banks don't care about you personally; they are too big. Blankfein can't take it upon himself to worry about each and every special snowflake.

If you want special care and attention, there is nothing wrong with that. But you won't find it in IBD and I would be absolutely shocked if anyone promised you would.

May 24, 2016

Look, I am not at all surprised by the lifestyle. I was an intern at the bank and knew very well what I was getting into. As I said before though I guess my point is don't implement bullshit policies and pretend like you care if those policies just aren't going to be enforced. Nowhere in my posts have I said that I expect to get special attention.

May 24, 2016

My favorite part about the response is his comment on PE interest

"We are doing all this cool shit to make your life easier but... you are going to leave in two years to a PE firm"

-XSX

May 24, 2016

You do realize we can now probably figure out which bank you work at? This is not something I would have posted.

But to complain about the workload- that's asinine. Complain about the attitude and culture of senior management at a bank (being an asshole for no reason, seniors blocking PE moves, being shat on in a project, etc)- do not complain about the WORK. I'm a millennial, and I think that is messed up.

May 24, 2016
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