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How bankers are changing their lifestyles after 2023

Our bonus and job market expectations report has been a guiding light of wisdom for many things, from bonus expectations to job insecurity to job seeking.

However, we haven’t just crunched numbers for it. We also asked a number of open-ended questions to our over 2,000 respondents to answer as they see fit. One of the questions we asked was about lifestyle, and expected changes made over the next year.

In many cases, people were satisfied, but not satisfied quite enough – be it due to their compensation, the prospect of their career plateauing, or overworking. “My job is close to my heart but I'm currently overworked and underpaid,” one Barclays junior dealing with ESG issues said.

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Others want to work harder in 2024. One private equity associate noted that he was now working 65 hours a week on average. “Would ideally work more,” he said, “and at a faster pace.” He planned to move to a hedge fund sometime in the next year.

Some others were more… Reminiscent. “16 years ago, I made a decision to sacrifice career for quality of live by moving to Madrid,” a sales & trading MD at a global bank in the city said. “Second best decision of my life,” he said. However, he had been looking for a new job for the last 10 months.

European issues seem to be consistent. “I’m happy with my job,” one middle associate said, “but the problem in Italy is that inflation is not covered with increase in salary. Each small increase is a hard and exhausting negotiating challenge.”

A VP in private equity had mixed feelings about his role. “Job is okay,” he said. “I like that I'm working to make the world a better place,” although lifestyle wasn’t good (we can’t print what he actually said). “Late nights and weekend work are the norm, and the cash portion of your pay really doesn't feel like it’s worth it, especially when you compare against the cash salaries you could get in banking or other big PE funds.”

Curiously, there weren’t very many people commenting on the number of days they spent in the office, despite that being a common point of contention in negotiating new job roles, as recruiters have noted in the past. 71% of respondents to our survey said that they were happy with how much time they spent in the office last year, despite that number ticking up marginally – from 3.55 days on average to 3.81.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.