Complain as they may, bankers don’t quit over long hours

eFC logo

Despite all the recent rhetoric, it appears that grueling working hours aren’t the main reason bankers wave the white flag. Rather, it’s all the dead ends that they encounter in their career path that make them call it quits.

Just 3% of financial services professionals who made the decision to change employers did so due to the long working hours, according to the eFinancialCareers Career Satisfaction & Retention Survey. Meanwhile, nearly one-quarter (24%) of respondents pointed to a lack of career progression as the main motivator for eyeing a new job.

“We've heard time and again that a key issue in banking is the fairly hierarchical culture model and the lock-step promotion approach based on years at the bank more than based on pure merit,” said Adam Zoia, CEO of Glocap, a Wall Street search firm.

"Of course at banks you don't get promoted unless you are performing well, but when you are doing well and are promoted there is little way to skip ahead,” he added, noting that hours are long at all high-performance companies.

The second most common reason to leave (16%) was compensation, which isn’t terribly surprising. When it comes to pay, banks are protecting top performers while leaving middling staffers wanting more. Banks are stealing from Peter to pay Paul – Peter’s more successful colleague. Paul, meanwhile, is looking for an exit.

Other common reasons bankers have decided to look elsewhere include their relationship with their manager (8%), job insecurity (7%) and a lack of recognition and rewards (7%). Bankers weren’t near as consumed with a shortage of autonomy, flexibility and non-monetary benefits. Only a handful of active job seekers identified one of those three as the reason they decided that it’s time to go.

It appears bankers clearly know what they’re in for. While they’ll moan and groan from time to time, no one goes in expecting a crisp, flexible workday. Those who do are surely just as likely to be shown the door before asking to leave.

Unless they're miserable, bankers only looking to jump for the money

When considering a new role, the most critical factor in swaying bankers is highly dependent upon whether or not their current employment situation is tolerable.

Those who are actively seeking a new position are fed up with their lack of career progression. Respondents in every region but one – the U.S. – ranked career prospects as the most critical factor in a new position. Meanwhile, those who aren’t actively looking but who are open to new possibilities look at one key factor: money.

Passive candidates in every single region except the Middle East ranked increased compensation as their number one priority when considering a new role.

The most pay-hungry region was the U.S., where active and passive job seekers identified compensation as the most important factor. With the exception of the Middle East, career prospects finished as the second most common response for passive bankers, though the difference was fairly significant, especially in the U.S. (43% vs. 21%) and the UK (37% vs. 27%).

Again, work hours, flexibility and non-monetary benefits are not top priorities for either active or passive candidates when it comes to a new position.

Click here to view the complete Career and Retention Survey




Financial services employees are surprisingly happy, except in the Middle East

When bankers burn out: sifting through the ashes

Asset managers: tech companies are coming for your jobs

Popular job sectors


Search jobs

Search articles