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Young investment bankers overworked and facing worsening working conditions - survey

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January 17
8:31 PM 2014

For young City bankers, working all night and weekends have been viewed as an accepted form of initiation into the banking world, the Financial Times reported. However, the death of an intern in Bank of America Merrill Lynch last summer which was triggered by overwork according to a coroner, may have led to a reevaluation of this outlook, the report said.

An investment banking executive told FT, "Interns are often doing things that are entirely pointless, such as producing long reports until 3am in the night that no one reads." According to bankers, the junior staff is experiencing worsening working conditions in the past few years with more work given to them as investment banks face reduced profits.

A survey conducted on over 550 readers of the Financial Times aged from 18 to 25 years old who are in the financial services sector illustrates the high amount of work they are subjected to. The results revealed that just over half of the respondents logged over 60 hours of work a week. Close to one in seven respondents revealed they were doing at least 90 hours of work each week, the report said.

More than half of the young staff said a change in the working culture is warranted, a view that is also shared by company leaders. However, only 18% said they had seen efforts at change, FT reported. A financial services worker based in the UK was quoted in the report as saying, "There are occasional token comments and emails mentioned, particularly during times of the year when the workload is OK. But when push comes to shove during busy season, it won't change."

To cope with the demanding hours, young bankers are turning to caffeine, alcohol and workouts. Some said they take naps in the bathroom, others entertained suicidal thoughts while still others included drugs as one of their coping mechanisms, the report said. 

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