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"It's hard to hire associates who'll work five days in the office"

When Grindr, the dating app, demanded that its staff return to work in the office, 45% of them reportedly quit. As banks require people to return to the office, it's not quite that desperate, but there's a definite undercurrent of disgruntlement. Recruiters say they're encountering more and more candidates who are open to new junior banking jobs - as long as they include some time at home.

"It's become an expectation and is quite a major factor for us now," says Barney Mundell at Loxley Partners executive search in London. "We get a lot of associates saying they will only do three days in the office. There's an expectation that a job will involve some home-time."

Andy Pringle at Circle Square, another recruitment firm, says he's experiencing the same phenomenon. "I'm getting a lot of analysts and associates who don't want to go into the office five days a week."

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While juniors are still demanding time at home, recruiters say the banks and boutiques people particularly want to work for have moved in the opposite direction. "The people my clients are interested in are the ones with the attitude that they'll be in the office six days a week if they're on the right platform," says one recruiter. Pringle says he tells people they need to be in the office four days each week.

Some banks (Goldman Sachs) now expect their juniors in the office full time. Similarly, boutique firms like PJT Partners and Centerview are understood to have a 'five days in the office' rule. Neither responded to a request to comment for this article.

Nonetheless, associates are sticking to their guns. One, at PWP, which allows associates to spend two days at home, says it's better for his mental health. "I have greater work/life balance, more sleep and generally a greater feeling of freedom that contributes to overall happiness."

Some of the firms that do expect people in the office five days a week are flexible in other ways. Centerview, for example, pays for generous dinners and Ubers. PWP allows its people to work remotely in August and over Christmas. "I think it's fair," says one associate there in reference to this arrangement. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Va
    Vanessa J
    26 September 2023

    There are plenty of Associates that are okay with 5 days, just need to be compensated appropriately. Unfortunately, employers have been seriously low-balling people for the last year or so while having some often unrealistic expectations. I know plenty of juniors as well ready to come onsite daily- they just aren't given the chance because they don't have 2+ years experience for that Graduate (Trainee) Junior Analyst role a lot of employers are asking

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