Monday 17 October 2016 12:20 am

Stress and the city: Bankers feel the pressure but fear admitting it to bosses

​Rising stress levels among investment bankers have led two thirds to consider quitting their jobs, according to new research seen exclusively by City A.M.

However, despite the admission senior banking employees believe that talking about their stress or mental health issues in the workplace will damage their careers.

According to the MetLife research, 40 per cent of financial institution decision makers think their job is extremely stressful, with two-thirds (67 per cent) considering resigning in the next year if their stress levels do not improve.

“Frequently cited causes of stress include long hours, excessive workload, poor relationships with colleagues and a lack of support from managers, all factors that many staff working in investment banking will be familiar with,” Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at mental health charity Mind, told City A.M.

Read more: Work cited as biggest cause of stress in people's lives

Half of those questioned by MetLife say they are working 25 or more weekends a year and only 44 per cent are offered flexible working options.


The research notes that banks are investing heavily in support – but it’s not being accessed for fear of reprisal.

Some 70 per cent of those surveyed believed that admitting to problems would damage their career prospects, and just 18 per cent say their organisation has a positive attitude to mental health issues.

Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School, who has worked with a number of finance companies throughout his career, told

City A.M. the sector has improved its approach since Lloyds Banking Group’s boss Antonio Horta Osorio publicly took time off for stress-related reasons.

Read more: Stress in the City: Let’s move beyond stigmas

However, Cooper added: “I think they [other employees] think ‘It’s ok for those guys to say it [given their seniority]…but if I say it, I will be affected [career-wise]’.”

The current environment is likely doing little to help matters. City A.M. reported earlier this month that some 20,000 banking jobs had been earmarked for the chop across Europe as profitability dwindles. Many lenders are now looking to digitise aspects of their workflow to boost efficiency, putting jobs on the line.

Last month research from the charity Business in the Community, based on a survey of employers across the country, revealed that fear of interfering or not knowing what to do prevents the bulk of the workforce (86 per cent) from approaching a colleague they are concerned about, while 77 per cent of managers say they are not confident in responding to symptoms relating to stress.

Meanwhile, 63 per cent of managers believe that they are obliged to put the interests of their organisation above the wellbeing of team members, and 49 per cent of employees say they would not talk to their manager about a mental health issue.