Secret perks and perils of working for SocGen, J.P. Morgan, Goldman...

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As we reported yesterday, the Vault has unleashed its latest ranking of banks to work for based upon pleasure and prestige. In the U.S., Blackstone comes top. In Europe, J.P. Morgan does, followed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone, and Citi.

More interesting than the rankings, however, are the comments Vault elicits from 'insiders' working at each firm. According to one commentator yesterday, these are a little biased by the fact that Vault works with representatives at the firms concerned and these representatives only solicit comments from cheerful employees. However, there are plenty of negative comments too - suggesting insiders are free to vent if they feel so inclined.

(Related Links:

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Four unusual ways to get hired as an investment banking analyst.)

We've plucked some of the most arresting elements from insiders' reviews of working for big banks in Europe. This is what you probably didn't know about life at SocGen, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and elsewhere...

  • You get beer on a Friday and 25 days' holiday a year at Macquarie Europe.
  • If you work at SocGen, you get 25 days' holiday a year, and if you have a French contract you can get another 16 to 18 days off for overtime.
  • Jefferies has an onsite sauna and swimming pool in its London office.
  • Citigroup's London-based M&A business is a good place to work with reasonable hours, unless you have the misfortune to be on an industry team which deals with the U.S., in which case your hours will be far longer.
  • After six weeks, trainees at Morgan Stanley complain that the graduate programme is 'non-existent' - they're left to their own devices.
  • Juniors at Morgan Stanley complain that they go three years without a salary increase: "The salary is competitive at entry level but quickly becomes less attractive as times goes on."
  • Goldman Sachs ticks all the boxes when it comes to supporting employees, and then expects them to work crazy hours. One employee complains: "The firm offers an on-site gym, doctors, nurses, dentist, physiotherapy, massage, and crèche. It offers incentive to cycle to work, and has good health insurance coverage and a good policy on long-term sick leaves. It provides seminars and training sessions on wellbeing and provides good support. But it also demands long hours and availability at all times. Not much time is left to sport, see friends during the week, or engage in other hobbies."
  • J.P. Morgan gives its analysts and associates four weeks' holiday per year. Managers encourage analysts and associates to actually take this time off.