While investment banks are generally prestigiously places to work, there are reasons that many bankers look to jump to the buy-side after they gain a few years of experience. The opportunity to make more money while enjoying a better work-life balance tends to fall first on most people’s list.
As we reported earlier in the week, work hours at investment banks may actually be getting worse, at least at some firms, despite the big industry-wide push starting in 2013 to lessen the workload on analysts and associates. The average work-week for investment bankers at the 30 firms considered the worst offenders was 82.3 hours in 2018, down a touch from 2013 (83.1 hours) but actually up from last year (81.3 hours), according to a new survey from Wall Street Oasis. How do private equity firms and hedge funds compare? Favorably, though you’d rather be trading than buying and selling companies if time at home is a big consideration.
The average week for hardest-worked private equity professionals is 74.5 hours, compared to just 66.5 hours at hedge funds. Again, the data only takes into account the 30 firms with the longest hours, but it still paints a fairly clear picture when the industry averages are lined up against one another.
Interestingly, both hedge funds and private equity funds appear to offer shorter hours than investment banks.
We’ve ranked the top 30 worst offenders for both buy-side industries in the charts below, courtesy of Wall Street Oasis. As you can see, the work hours at hedge funds drop off considerably once you get past the top 10. Plus, the hours at most of the bigger-named funds on the list, including Point72, Citadel, Man Group, Bridgewater and Millennium, fall below the average. Unsurprisingly, two big funds that didn’t make the list – Two Sigma and D.E. Shaw – rank highly for work-life balance in the same WSO survey.
Meanwhile, there is much less variance among the 30 private equity firms. Employees at two of the biggest names in the industry – Blackstone Group and Apollo Global Management – report working 70-plus hours a week. However, it’s important to note that Blackstone and Apollo finished first and fourth, respectively, in terms of compensation and overall employee satisfaction in the same survey. If you pay people enough, the hours don't take quite the same toll, it seems.
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