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The banks with the best and worst working hours

Bankers work a lot. People know that, but they don't necessarily know how much. 

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The workload in investment banks can and often does, obliterate your personal relationships. However, it's not the same in all teams – our 2024 compensation report found that it was M&A bankers who worked the longest hours, while commodities sales & trading people worked the fewest.

The Goldman Sachs analysts who complained of 100-hour weeks during the pandemic were working for the bank's technology investment banking team (on deals with technology clients) in San Francisco. More recently, Leo Lukenas, the Bank of America associate who died of an “acute coronary artery thrombus” and who was rumored to have been working 120-hour weeks prior to his death (although Bank of America denies this) was working in the Financial institutions Group (FIG) of the investment bank, on deals with financial services clients.

Most people in banking jobs, thankfully, don’t work this long. Our most recent compensation report found that average working hours were between 67 hours a week (for M&A) and 41 hours a week (for commodities sales & trading people). Most roles were working less than 50 hours a week.

The difference between 60 hours a week and 65 hours a week might not seem vast, but it can lead to an intense increase in lifestyle quality. It could mean protected Sundays off from work, or the ability to attend a 9pm club/class near the office a few times a week.

Working hours differ by team and division and bank by bank. Figures in this article are courtesy of Wall Street Oasis’ (WSO) analysis, combined with data from our salary & bonus report earlier this year.

Working hours at Goldman Sachs

WSO data on average Goldman Sachs working hours: N/A

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 50.8 /week

People at Goldman Sachs work a lot. WSO didn’t include Goldman working hours figures in its report this year and it didn’t meet our sample size threshold, but for the last year that WSO data was available (2022), GS’ people worked an average of 87.5 hours a week. 

Working hours at JPMorgan

WSO data on average JPMorgan working hours: N/A

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 49.1 /week

Although JPMorgan’s investor day the other day acknowledged the intense workload on junior bankers, there’s not much to indicate that the bank is changing its practices. Mary Callahan Erdoes, JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management chief, noted a few years ago that if it takes 10,000 to master something, it should take a Wall Street junior two and a half years working 12-hour days, six days a week.

Working hours at Morgan Stanley

WSO data on average Morgan Stanley working hours: 76.5 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 52.2 /week

Morgan Stanley consistently has some of the hardest-worked bankers, according to WSO’s reports, with only boutique banks (and occasionally Goldman) working longer hours. For what it’s worth, we found that Morgan Stanley’s bankers were some of the best rested in the industry, averaging 7 hours of sleep a night – well ahead of others, most notably the European banks. They desired 8 hours of sleep a night, however.

Working hours at Bank of America

eFinancialCareers data on average Bank of America investment bank working hours: 67.5 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 52.4 /week

Bank of America’s working hours have gotten a lot of negative attention, with the sudden deaths of two young employees: Adnan Deumic, a credit trader, and Leo Lukenas, a FIG banker. Lukenas’ death in particular received a lot of attention, although Bank of America has denied that he worked the 120 hours a week some said he did.

Working hours at Citi

eFinancialCareers data on average Citi investment bank working hours: 68.0 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 51.2 /week

Although 68-hour work weeks are more lenient than some of Citi’s other major competitors, its working hours have still drawn ire. Edward Ruff, the Citi MD who left the bank after being accused of berating junior bankers, was said to have demanded that people work Saturdays despite having the day off. 

Working hours at Barclays

eFinancialCareers data on average Barclays investment bank working hours: 62.9 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 52.2 /week

European banks are considered to work their people less than American banks. However, Barclays has a semi-American culture after absorbing Lehman Brothers over a decade ago. WSO’s 2023 investment banking working conditions survey noted that 38% of Barclays bankers were working over 90 hours a week, and 15% were working over 100 hours a week in 2022. 

Working hours at Deutsche Bank

eFinancialCareers data on average Deutsche Bank investment bank working hours: 62.6 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 55.9 /week

Deutsche Bank’s staff had the highest average working hours across the banks we surveyed in our salary & bonus report (a number not limited to investment banking staff). However, our survey results suggested that Deutsche's investment bankers worked less than their peers at most American banks.

Working hours at UBS

eFinancialCareers data on average UBS investment bank working hours: 63.5 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 50.3 /week

In our lifestyle survey published earlier this year, UBS’ staff had a peculiar distinction – they had the biggest sleep desire gap, meaning that they slept the least compared to how much they really wanted to. Averaging 6.5 hours a night and wanting 8.8, the implication was that UBS bankers are over-worked – despite their investment bankers working fewer hours than most competitors.

Working hours at HSBC

eFinancialCareers data on average HSBC investment bank working hours: 66.92 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 50.7 /week

HSBC’s bankers are some of the most worked in terms of European banks, but that statistic obfuscates an important factor: HSBC has massive operations in Asia, an area which is notorious for working its people hard. Junior investment bankers at HSBC in Singapore complained a few years ago about “insomnia and heart palpitations” due to their workloads, with 90-115 hour workweeks allegedly common.

Working hours at Jefferies

WSO data on average Jefferies working hours: 75.1 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: N/A

Earlier this year, John Metz, an ex-Jefferies MD, announced that he worked “70-90 hour weeks” for the last 20 years. Wall Street Oasis data indicates that the average Jefferies banker is working within that range. The bank has been on the higher end of the WSO’s rankings, although CEO Richard Handler has previously said that working excessive hours was a banker’s own choice, and a poor one at that. “Businesses will allow you to work non-stop if you allow unfair demands, guilt, imposter syndrome or an 'over respect for authority' to rule your life,” Handler said.

Working hours at Rothschild

WSO data on average Rothschild working hours: 75.6 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 66.8 /week

Although Rothschild announced protected weekends a few years ago, the bank is still working its people hard. Its Dubai office recently got lambasted for berating juniors who arrived at 10:30am after pulling a 4am shift – although that might be a particularity to its UAE office, as bankers in the country are known to be worked harder than in other places.

Working hours at Lazard

WSO data on average Lazard working hours: 85 /week

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: N/A

It’s been a long time since Lazard sent its interns home in the middle of the night, but the bank doesn’t seem to have changed its ways much. It’s been consistently near the top of WSO’s rankings for working hours, and new rules implemented in 2021 including offices being closed at 8pm and airtight holiday allowances don’t seem to have had much of an impact on front-office working staff. 

Working hours at BNP Paribas

WSO data on average BNP Paribas working hours: N/A

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 50.8 /week

Despite BNP Paribas being a French bank, its outlook is more global. Less than two years ago, it announced that it wanted to be “the first European corporate and investment bank among global tier one players”. Being a global bank can’t be done in a 9-5, however, and the average worker at the bank is putting in 51-hour weeks. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s ahead of well-established “global tier one players”, such as JPMorgan, and on par with Goldman Sachs.

Working hours at SocGen

WSO data on average SocGen working hours: N/A

Average working hours across the bank as a whole: 45.8 /week

SocGen is the less American and more European French investment bank next to BNP Paribas, with the mid-year appointment of new CEO Slawomir Krupa apparently not doing much to turn the bank more Atlanticist as he intended. SocGen bankers reported the highest amount of sleep among European banks in our lifestyle survey too, although they still wanted more.

Working hours at boutique banks

In general, the most elite boutiques work their people very hard, and the “less elite” ones offer much gentler work-life balance. WSO’s figures suggest that top boutique banks such as Centerview Partners and PJT Partners work longer hours than nearly everyone else – 83.3 and 80.4 hours, respectively.

That being said, the bank with the highest recorded working hours by WSO – Stephen’s – isn’t exactly known to be the biggest and baddest beast around. They’re mostly a middle-market bank, dealing with deals smaller than major boutiques or bulge bracket banks. 

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Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

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AUTHORZeno Toulon
  • pb
    pbug56
    3 February 2022

    What articles like this seem to assume is that all the employees in IB's are highly compensated bankers and super-techies that both see themselves as better than anyone else in a firm - in fact see anyone else as there to be their servants. Most employees in IB's are underpaid, and while most don't work 100 hour weeks, odds are that they work a lot more hours than they should have to, primarily because to save money to pay the biggies, they badly understaff and underpay the areas that make it all work. IOTW, back and middle office, trade floor support, most of the IT people, sourcing, compliance and others. I was responsible for about $25 million in spend at one job, badly underpaid, and worked 60 to 70 hours per week - the longer times if I was working remotely rather than a very long daily commute. But do nothing or incompetent bosses worked fewer hours and got paid a lot more.

  • Oc
    Octav Ciobanu
    31 December 2021

    The problem with this all company's is, make the people slaves , and the people I see like to be slaves accepting to play how the rich people likes they to play, this is wrong, and I think to make an appeal to all wich sleep, guys wakeup, don't sleep to long in your fear, and leave this rich people to brush the floor with you, stand up and deal with them by your rights!

  • He
    HedgeFundKing
    12 February 2021

    According to David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, they track the hours their Investment Bankers work. According to an interview in 2020, the average GS Investment Banker works 65 hours (see here: https://www.youtube.com/wat..., i.e. an astonishing 10 hours less than the table above. Probably the other numbers are equally inflated (I work in M&A and surely for an average week they are inflated).

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