When we asked people for their 2020 resolutions earlier this week, no one said directly they planned to get more sleep. This is surprising: sleep is a big issue, and in banking it’s bigger than elsewhere.
Last year, we asked over 2,000 of our readers about their sleeping patterns. 60% of you said you were tired or exhausted, and there were pockets were the exhaustion was acute.
Sleep when you work in IBD
Investment banking divisions (IBD) have a reputation for long hours. This is where people work 80-100 hour weeks, and are regularly at their desks until 1am.
One 20-something London analyst told us she sleeps four hours on weeknights and catches up at weekends. An NYC investment banker said it’s not so much the hours but the intensity and unpredictability that’s the killer: “Week in, week out, year in, year out….the next surprise all-nighter is always one email or press release away from coming to get you.”
A fifth of people in investment banking divisions said they had less than five hours’ sleep each night. The ongoing exhaustion in IBD comes despite banks’ efforts to curtail working hours for junior staff. Banks’ initiatives mostly involve mandatory time off at weekends, but IBD juniors said they haven’t done much good. There are complaints that “protected weekends” aren’t enforced, that the “Saturdays off” rule simply means longer hours on Thursdays and Fridays, and that while Saturday is a rest day, Sunday is back to work.