City chief tells junior bankers on £70k salaries to stop moaning about working conditions

·3 min read
UK, London, blurred motion of incidental business people walking to work with view of the financial district behind
Young investment bankers complaining about working conditions have come under fire from one of the City's top financiers. (Stock image: Getty)

Young bankers on £70,000 salaried have been urged to stop moaning about being overworked by the former head of the London Stock Exchange. 

Xavier Rolet, previously a leading banker in the City of London and former CEO of the London Stock Exchange, said "entitled" graduates complaining about their hours should think of those poorer than themselves and were welcome to "do something else" if they weren't happy with their jobs. 

Earlier this year junior analysts at Goldman Sachs revealed what they described as "inhumane" working conditions, with an informal survey shared online revealing that many said they worked an average of 95 hours a week and had little time to sleep, eat or shower.

Rolet's comments, made to the Mail on Sunday, come as Goldman Sachs Group was reportedly set to raise salaries for junior members of staff in its investment bank division, according to Business Insider, in a move that follows similar pay increases for junior analysts at Citi Group, Morgan Stanley, UBS Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG.

The CEO of the London Stock Exchange Xavier Rolet at the Bank of England Open Forum 2015 at Guildhall in London.
Xavier Rolet said junior bankers were welcome to go and do something else if they weren't happy. (Getty)

Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said he would improve working conditions for junior bankers at the firm. 

He said the bank was trying to hire more associates to relieve pressure on those struggling with the workload and would be enforcing a ban on employees from working between 9pm on Friday evenings and 9am on Sunday mornings, apart from in specific circumstances.

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But Rolet dismissed the young workers' complaints, saying banks should "try hiring poor, hungry kids who managed to put themselves through college" instead of "entitled" graduates.

The 61-year-old said junior bankers "are paid very well compared to other industries or sectors", adding: "Ask a young entrepreneur drawing no salary how they would like to make $100,000-plus [£72,000] straight out of college? Or a single working mum of three working herself to death to put her kids through school?"

He added: "If you don’t love what you’re doing or think the hours don’t suit your lifestyle, by any means do something else."

Rolet shared an article on his comment son LinkedIn. (LinkedIn/Xavier Rolet)
Rolet shared an article on his comment son LinkedIn. (LinkedIn/Xavier Rolet)

In similar comments in Financial News, Rolet shared his own experiences and said gruelling hours were worth it for someone of his background, describing his upbringing in a "sink estate" in Paris. 

The Frenchman shared the article on his LinkedIn profile with the comment: "Probably won’t be making too many new friends with this one …"

He went on to reshare it with another comparison to the workload endured by a single working mother, writing: "Let me ask any of those who commented negatively on my post: how many single working mothers trying to put several kids through school do you think work less than 130 hours a week?"

Rolet started his career at Goldman Sachs in New York before going on to work at major banks including Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers. 

He was CEO of the London Stock Exchange from 2009 to 2017, during which time the company's value went from £800m to nearly £14bn, but some reports suggested staff disliked his management style.

He left in 2017 following a bitter boardroom dispute over who should run the company and is now chairman of investment bank Shore Capital Markets. 

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