Wall Street Is Getting a Little Less Miserable

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 3 2014 6:24 PM

Wall Street Is Getting a Little Less Miserable

Smile! Things are looking up!

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Hours. Pay. Work-life balance. Overall satisfaction. In just about every way, Wall Street is getting a bit more bearable, according to an annual survey of top financial institutions conducted by career services and information site Vault.

The Blackstone Group, a global asset management firm, earned the No. 1 ranking for the second year running with peers rating it highly in terms of prestige and its own employees giving it strong scores for various quality-of-life factors. Goldman Sachs came in second but fared poorer in the quality-of-life evaluation. Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan followed in third and fourth, respectively. And across the industry, bankers reported significantly higher satisfaction on average than they did in either of the previous two years.


Chart from Vault


In its analysis of the rankings, Vault theorizes that big-name banks like Goldman are benefiting from a concerted push to ratchet back hours for the newest employees. These policies, known by names such as "protected weekends," have included giving junior bankers Saturdays off or promising at least one entirely uninterrupted weekend per month. So far junior bankers seem to have a love-hate relationship with the increased time off: They appreciate the added freedom but fear it might be coming at the expense of their coveted bonuses.

Then again, if bonuses are staying static, salaries are climbing. In late August, a string of firms announced plans to increase base pay for junior bankers by at least 20 percent beginning in 2015. The move is expected to bring prebonus salaries for analysts at top-tier banks to around $85,000. Vault's data suggests that the overarching trend continues to be up: As you can see from the chart below, bankers industry-wide said compensation improved from the previous year, if only slightly.


Chart from Vault

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.