Grumbling and stress at Deutsche Bank's office in Birmingham

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Given the extent of Deutsche Bank's troubles (the bank's share price is down again today, leaving Deutsche the 90th biggest bank in the world behind Axis Bank in India), a state of minor insurrection in its Birmingham (UK) office is unlikely to bat many eyelids globally. Even so, DB Birmingham insiders' angst bears noting - not least because their jobs look particularly precarious in a world where Deutsche is trying to cut costs in the middle and back office, and the angst might spread.

Insiders in Birmingham complain of high levels of stress and overwork following a hiring freeze that was imposed in March this year. "It's becoming an unbearable place to work," says one. "I'm burned out, micro-managed, unfairly treated, and given no idea of my future with the bank. The compensation package here is not competitive with other employers. People are signing-off work with stress and I've decided to move on."

Deutsche Bank didn't respond to a request to comment on conditions in Birmingham. In fairness, not everyone at its outpost in the British Midlands seems to share this disgruntlement. A quick look at Glassdoor reveals DB people in Birmingham praising the bank for its 'high pay,' 'high productivity' and 'great culture.' Even if it does only score 3.5 stars overall, someone there must be doing something right.

The more vociferous grumbling at DB in Birmingham seems to be coming from a client services data team, which insiders say was set up in July last year to remediate client data problems. At one point, the team in question allegedly employed around 40 analysts. Insiders claim that it's now down to 20 following various exits and a hiring freeze which has inhibited the ability to recruit replacements. "For a new project, it's been a shambles," says one analyst. "But the bank is happy that people are leaving because it means they are cutting costs."

Birmingham isn't the City of London, but it still has its fair share of alternative employers for DB people who leave. At least eight people have left the data team in the last five months alone.

Even so, it's quite possible the complaints are simply the result of a disaffected few and that most people in Birmingham are happy with their lot. Even so, as Deutsche would do well to take note of the grumbling on the ground as it prepares to cut costs in 2019. "Working here has been the worst experience of my life," says a plaintive Birmingham employee. "Management are not interested in keeping employees on their teams, there's a lack of opportunities and the fear of redundancy."

Deutsche Bank's former CEO, John Cryan, famously said that robots could replace half the employees at Deutsche Bank and still get the work done. It may be that this is the kind of thing new CEO Christian Sewing has in mind as he takes costs from the middle and back office. In the meantime, DB Birmingham is staffed by human beings - and some of them, at least, do not appear to be very happy there.

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