(Bloomberg) – Rooms at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, located on Barbados’ platinum beaches, can cost more than $ 1,000 a night. In the morning, you can enjoy the catamaran snorkeling cruise and return ashore in time for afternoon tea.
For some Houlihan Lokey Inc. employees, this offer is now on the table: a five-night stay at this Caribbean haven, with money from the investment bank, as a reward for a year of record earnings. The offer is also a subtle plea to the company’s younger employees: please don’t quit.
That last phrase echoes across Wall Street, where turnover and burnout rates among young workers are accelerating. Banks have tried to turn the tide with raises, bonuses, vacations, and even free sports equipment. For all that, being a young banker in America has never been more lucrative.
However, the problem is that it has also never been more lucrative for aspiring workers to work outside the golden world of finance, as the gap between banks and other employers such as technology companies has narrowed.
“In terms of making money, is this the best time to be a banker? Sure, ”says executive recruiter Dan Miller of True Search. “Now, in terms of lifestyle, is this a terrible time? Absolutely”.
A presentation prepared by 13 first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. earlier this year prompted a reckoning on Wall Street after it highlighted the working conditions of junior bankers – some of them working 100 hours a day. the week while his physical activities and mental health suffered. Goldman responded by cutting weekend hours and promising to increase staff at its busiest businesses.
Earlier this year, a presentation prepared by 13 first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. prompted a reckoning on Wall Street after it highlighted working conditions for junior bankers – some of them working hundreds of hours a day. the week as his physical activities and mental health suffered. Goldman responded by cutting weekend hours and promising to increase staff at its busiest businesses.
However, some industry veterans have made harsh statements against those who complain about the workload. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Howard Lutnick suggested that some of the young workers considering leaving finance may simply not be ready for it. “Those young bankers who decide they are working too hard, choose another way of life,” he told Bloomberg TV earlier this month.
Furthermore, the exhausting workload of bank analysts has continued and, in some cases, worsened. When COVID-19 took over the nation last year, the “work hard, play hard” mantra became “work hard, sit on your couch,” all while the economy accelerated and deals proliferated.
Frustrated and overworked, many of them turned to the anonymous ex-banker behind the popular “Litquidity” financial meme account for support. In an interview, he said he was inundated with messages on Twitter and Instagram from young industry colleagues feeling fed up and weighing whether the work was worth it.
Lit, as he calls himself, was at the time a senior associate in investment banking and knew very well what they were going through. He too felt exhausted and stressed, and at one point he went to see a doctor to have his heart palpitations checked.
“Do you know the feeling when your stomach just sinks in? I felt it in my heart, “he said by phone from New York’s Central Park. The doctor concluded that his symptom was probably related to stress. Last winter, Lit quit her job to focus on growing the Litquidity brand and writing a daily newsletter. He says he is also working to launch a venture capital fund.
It is not only in finance where workers are becoming more demanding, a similar scenario that occurs throughout the country. Companies from McDonald’s Corp. to country clubs in Nashville, Tennessee, have raised wages and offered hiring bonuses to attract new workers. From March to May, the rate of American workers who voluntarily quit their jobs rose to its highest level in at least two decades. In Washington, lawmakers are arguing about raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.
Of course, the isolated world of finance and some other professional services operate on a significantly higher plane in terms of pay. Last month, dozens of the nation’s top law firms raised first-year salaries to $ 202,500, roughly a couple thousand. They also offer multiple annual bonuses and additional time off as they struggle to retain talent and their workers face burnout.
Miller, who co-leads True Search’s financial services practice, says today’s young bankers have far more options than their peers previously had. Banks and consulting firms have long been a source of recruiting for private equity and, more recently, venture capital, technology, and fintech. These days, with many of those industries hiring at a record rate, many young bankers no longer have to hold out for two years. They can leave earlier or skip the stay in finance altogether.
Some bank bosses have promised to ease the pressure. After the junior analysts’ presentation, Goldman CEO David Solomon promised to better enforce the rule that they should have Saturdays off. But the sentiments carved in stone in banking culture for decades do not change easily. Additionally, Lit noted that Goldman’s policy of not working on Saturdays has been in effect since 2013.
“There has to be a way to make it stick,” he said. “What’s the use of earning half a million if you work 20 hours a day?