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The truth about working hours in banking during 2022

 As COVID restrictions settle down further and the nature of work changed once more, different things have been expected of workers in 2022. In the finance industry especially, as the tug of ware between remote and office working continues, those expectations are more demanding than ever.

In the finance industry this is especially true. For the eFinanicalCareers survey, over 1500 banking professionals gave us insight into how their working hours had changed. Here are the key takeaways:

Analysts least likely to be working the same hours

The entry level of banking brings with it a lot of grunt work. During COVID, the exceptional circumstances either demanded much more of them or allowed them to coast. Either way, the rubber band pinged back this year.

Of each level of seniority, analysts were the only ones whose hours were more likely to change than stay the same. Analysts were the second most likely to have their hours decreased and yet the most likely to have their hours increase.

One SMBC analyst whose hours increased to 70 per week said he was the only analyst on his team. A female M&A analyst in London on the same number of hours cited a decrease in last years hours due to “less live deals, less activity.”

On the lower end of the hours spectrum, one JPMorgan analyst decreased to 47 hours “due to market conditions.” One Singapore analyst whose hours increased to just 39 said he was “happy to work more."

Directors are the least likely to be working more

It’s not just those lower in the hierarchy increasing their numbers. The associate, VP and MD  seniority levels saw between 24% and 26%  of respondents claim an increase in working hours. Some ways below that, at just 20.3% was Directors.

One director saw their hours fall to 35 a week. Their reasoning was that working from home made it “easier to focus on core work streams by not being interrupted frequently in the office.” This was even true in hedge funds, where one director said hours were “down slightly due to increased automation.”

It’s not perfect for everyone however. Some M&A directors saw their hours rise to between 90 and 100 hours a week. One in London blamed it on a “really bad deal environment” while one in New York called his environment “toxic.”

Most quants upped their hours

The two areas with the lowest number of respondents claiming a decrease in working hours were the compliance and quant sectors with 0% and 7% respectively.

However, while compliance leaned vastly towards maintaining their hours, with 84.6% keeping them the same, quants had a 50% chance of saying their hours increased.

A Singapore VP at FINCAD is working across two time zones, waking up to have online meetings by 8am with North American colleagues, then staying late till 7 or 8pm to discuss with European ones. A BNP quant in London says his hours are increasing due to “less staff and more projects.”

Of the few that are working less, one Natwest VP attributes the change to “increased productivity” as a result of “going to the office” once more.

M&A are working less… but still more than everyone else

Of all the sectors, the one that saw most respondents decrease their working hours was M&A. You might think that means they had an easy year, but it’s anything but.

The lowest reported hours worked was a Natwest director with 45 hours a week. At the upper end was an astonishing 110 hours from a female UBS associate in London. That’s almost twice as much time working as spent doing anything else.

That associate worked more hours this year and blamed it on “A terrible glut of COVID analysts who have all quiet quit.”

In New York, one BofA director saw his hours decrease due to “less travel” while a Macquarie VP worked less due to “more support” being available. The two still worked 80 and 70 hours respectively.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: alex.mcmurray@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. 

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Photo by Abdülkadir Vardi on Unsplash

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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