Wall Street

Over the past two weeks, Poets&Quants has been reporting on working conditions in investment banking and, it turns out, most of the rumors ring true: a recent survey of nearly 500 bankers found long hours, strained relationships and a sharp decline in both mental and physical health. (For details and pointed quotes, see “Investment Bankers Slam Poor Work Hours, Bad Pay, and Ruined Relationships” and “Sinister Working Conditions Described in 10 Bulge Banks.” “)

There is a silver lining, however small: although life for early analysts and young associates seems grueling, especially in the larger bulge media banks, it seems to be getting (somewhat) better. .

This spring, Wall Street Oasis — an online community, news site, and career center for people working and aspiring to work in finance-related fields — released its second Working Conditions Survey for the investment bank. It collected responses from 485 bankers from investment banks of varying sizes. Overall, 52% said they were unhappy with their current salary, 14% worked an average of 91 hours or more per week, and 75% said their working hours had a negative impact on their personal relationships. They also reported a 28% drop in their mental health and a 33% drop in their physical health compared to before accepting their current positions.


We reported on the first part of the WSO survey in this storylooking at general highlights from all respondents. In the second part, we looked at how 10 bulge tranche banks fared against each other. In this article, we compare how 2021 compares to 2022. While conditions have improved in several categories and at several individual banks, all is not well in the land of bankers.

In total, the 485 bankers in the survey (38.6% of whom worked in bulge bracket banks, 56.5% in boutique or intermediary banks and 5% did not specify) declared that they worked an average of 78 hours per week in 2022 compared to 82 in 2021. They also reported sleeping an average of 7 minutes more per night than last year and 1 hour and 17 minutes earlier. Their self-reported decline in mental health before and after taking their current positions also fell 27% from 2021 and their decline in physical health fell 12%.

Still, the year-over-year differences in nine bulge-slice banks showed that some banks have more work to do than others.

As the table above shows, more respondents at seven of the nine bulge-slice banks say that working conditions at their bank HAVE NOT improved since 2021 than those who said they have improved. Even then, many banks improved in other key categories.
At Deutsche Bank, 68% of respondents said working conditions have not improved this year compared to last, the highest rate of any other growing bank. Morgan Stanley followed closely at 67% with Bank of America and Citigroup at 50%. Only 16% of Deutsche Bank respondents and 17% of Morgan Stanely respondents said conditions had improved.

Conversely, JP Morgan had the highest percentage of respondents saying conditions have improved in 2021 at 41% (although 48% disagree). Some 38% of Jefferies & Company reported improvements and 38% reported no improvements.

More details on the individual banks are available in the full report.


Across all categories in the survey, Jefferies & Company was the only bulge tranche to improve in each category over 2021. However, it’s important to note that the improvements only measure the bank’s performance over 2021. to herself, not to her peers. For example, Jefferies reported a 15% decrease in the number of respondents who said their working hours had a negative impact on their personal relationships over the past year, while Morgan Stanley reported an increase of 10%. But, considering that 100% of Jefferies employees reported negative impacts in 2021 (compared to 85% in 2022), there was only one direction they could go. Morgan Stanely, meanwhile, saw 83% of its employees report negative relationship effects (up from 76% in 2021).

Bank of America respondents reported worse conditions in 2022 in just four survey categories, and these were mostly negligible: There was a 3% increase in respondents reporting unrealistic timelines (86% ), a 4% increase in unjustified blame reports (50%), and a 1% increase in excessive monitoring or micromanagement. The likelihood of bankers advising against using Bank of America as a financial advisor also increased from 4.4 in 2021 to 5.2 in 2022 (on a 10-point scale).

Mental health declines after investment bankers start their jobs continues to be a concern for survey respondents. However, the declines are smaller than in 2021 at six of the nine bulge banks listed in the table below. The decrease in mental and physical health is calculated by asking survey respondents to rate their health before taking their job and their mental health after and finding the difference.


The old adage the higher you go, the farther you fall? This certainly applies to Barclays – at least in how its employees report their mental health. Although Barclay respondents reported one of the smallest declines in mental health after taking their jobs at all other banks in 2021 and 2022, the percentage increase in the year-over-year decline another was the highest of all. their mental health in 2021 compared to a drop of 2 points in 2022 (on a 10-point scale). That’s a 233% increase.
Of all the banks, conditions appeared to deteriorate the most at Morgan Stanley. At 13, it had more categories with worse conditions since 2021 than any other bank. In fact, 17% of its employees surveyed said they worked 100 hours or more per week (up from 6% in 2021), and 33% of its employees felt they were victims of workplace abuse (up from 24%).

As we’ve said before, it’s difficult to put these survey results into context without similar industry surveys to compare against. It is also fair to note that although the survey had a total of 485 responding bankers, the results for individual banks are based on relatively few responses. This includes 14 from Bank of America, 13 from Barclays, 19 from Deutsche Bank, 23 from Goldman Sachs, 13 from Jefferies & Company, 29 from JP Morgan and 9 from RBC Capital Markets.

Read the full WSO Investment Banking Working Conditions Survey 2022 here.