Big Banks’ Work-life Balance Efforts Will Pay Off

his week Morgan Stanley started offering month-long paid sabbaticals to junior bankers who make it to the vice-president level — a step that usually requires five years and lots of long hours. Meanwhile Credit Suisse is encouraging all European employees to make sure they take Friday night and Saturday morning off. Swiss rival UBS is telling employees to set aside two hours a week for personal business — such as teacher conferences or marathon training. The banks are also taking specific steps to improve retention at a time when hedge funds and asset managers have been poaching some of their young stars. Goldman Sachs seems to have set the pace on this front late last year when it unveiled a junior banker retention initiative that included swifter promotions, fewer menial tasks and more diverse work experiences. Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays followed suit. Now Morgan Stanley plans to start telling top first-year analysts that they have a bright future at the bank within a few months of arrival, and crucially before hedge funds start their annual recruiting season. These retention efforts make perfect sense in light of the recent survey of millennials in 25 countries by Manpower Group. It found that 21- to 36-year-olds prioritise job security above everything except money when choosing their employers. (FT)

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