Banker burnout: Boardrooms at banks warned they must do more to address well-being, as over a quarter of staff reveal they think their job is harming their health

Hayley Kirton
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Over half of bankers feel under considerable pressure to perform at work (Source: Getty)

Banking top dogs have been urged to address workers' well-being, after a new report revealed more than a quarter of bank staff believed their job was dragging down their health.

The first-of-its-kind survey of over 28,000 banking staff carried out by the Banking Standards Board revealed 26 per cent of workers either agreed or strongly agreed that working for their firm has a negative impact on their health and well-being, with many citing the constant scrutiny both from inside their own company and from external sources like regulators as a major cause of stress.

The study noted those working in investment banking and for so-called too-big-to-fail banks were the most likely to report their job was undermining their health.

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Meanwhile, more than half (58 per cent) either agreed or strongly agreed that they often felt under considerable pressure to perform in their work.

Speaking with City A.M., Dame Colette Bowe, chair of the Banking Standards Board, said the responsibility to make sure these figures improved by the time next year's survey rolled around lay "fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the board".

"If you're running a business and if it is being reported to you that a significant proportion of people in that business are saying, 'I feel under unusual pressure', you can't escape from that," Bowe added. "You absolutely can't."

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However, Bowe also noted that, when bank boards had been presented with the well-being statistics from the review, they were adamant something needed to change and "every board we've spoken to has got positive action plans now".

The report also indicated banking may still have some way to go to clean up its image. Of those surveyed, 12 per cent said they had seen unethical behaviour being rewarded, 13 per cent felt they might not be able to get ahead in their careers without flexing their own ethics and 18 per cent noted people at their firm turning a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour.

Meanwhile, almost three out of 10 confessed they would be worried about the negative consequences if they raised concerns, and one in seven said they did not feel comfortable challenging their manager's decisions.

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Although the survey also discovered nine out of ten bankers believed their colleagues acted in an honest and ethical way, Bowe said: "One out of ten not thinking that, it's one too many."

The Banking Standards Board's members range from larger investment banks like Citi and Morgan Stanley to newer-to-the-market challengers such as Atom and Metro Bank.

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