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

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




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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • ru
    18 June 2014

    The real reason one wants to move beyond being the investment professional amongest "a team" that is now necessary to work with a client - the trust officer, the relarionship manager, etc. is that it is increasingly difficult to compete for and win new business when banks are dictating what the investment professional can use as an investment vehicle. Poor research advice, locking a portfolio into a specific type "growth, growth and income, income", etc makes it virtually impossible to invest to meet the needs of the private client. Of course, this is all in the name of "risk management" for the bank. The "team" you are working with may be acting in a covertly agressive fashion to establish their individual importance in a relationship that is against you with the client or your manager. Manager and clients are human....pointing out as an investment professional that you are being subtly undermined led to my termination - despite investment success- by a major NYC bank. You are only rewarded if you "go along" and "get along" with the others who are advancing their own agendas. I was dealt with so harshly and put under so much pressure that 14 hour days in this environment led to a nervous breakdown. Yet - this bank refused me disability and wanted me to sign away all my individual rights - to the point I would have lost my disability insurance in order to get their confidentiality agreement and the only way I could receive disability pay. I am sure that I am not the only one to get this treatment. Yet these big banks get by with their intimidating tactics with approval and in collusion with HR. Why is everyone
    afraid to bring this out into the open?
    The industry will continue to react to public demand for their private wealth management by expanding and contracting it's workforce. These hostile tactics will continue and private bankers will still fear what may happen in industry consolidation - the loss of their jobs. Isn't it time to let the public know what is going on? It certainly affects the effectiveness of having their assets managed and brings a level of instability to their investment portfolio that is not good for them in a volatile investment environment.

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