United Kingdom

City chief tells junior bankers to suck up 80-hour weeks as others 'work harder for far less money'

A top City financier has blasted highly paid young bankers for moaning about having to work long hours.

Former London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet said ‘entitled’ junior bankers had no right to complain when ‘millions of poor working mothers’ work harder for far less money.

New recruits to top investment banks often start on salaries of £70,000 or more, but put in more than 80 hours a week working on financial deals.

This year, young Goldman Sachs bankers described working conditions as ‘inhumane’, warning they were suffering sleep deprivation.

But Mr Rolet, a 61-year-old Frenchman who grew up on a Parisian sink estate, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s a free world – if you don’t love what you’re doing or think the hours don’t suit your lifestyle, by any means do something else.’

He advised bosses: ‘Try hiring poor hungry kids who managed to put themselves through college instead of ‘entitled’ [graduates] and you won’t have that problem.’

And he added that young City workers should remember that many working mothers put in ‘130-hour working weeks’ for paltry pay. 

He said: ‘Junior bankers are paid very well compared to other industries or sectors: ask a young entrepreneur drawing no salary how they would like to make $100,000-plus straight out of college? 

Former London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet (pictured) said ‘entitled’ junior bankers had no right to complain when ‘millions of poor working mothers’ work harder for far less money

This year, young Goldman Sachs bankers described working conditions as ‘inhumane’, warning they were suffering sleep deprivation (Pictured: Stock image)

'Or a single working mum of three working herself to death to put her kids through school?’

Mr Rolet worked at Goldman Sachs in the 1980s – where he routinely worked ‘far more than 80 hours’ a week. He warned that curbs on working patterns could make Britain’s financial services less competitive.

‘Chinese primary school students start at 7.30am and often finish past 10pm,’ he said. 

‘Do we think we can compete if this mentality infects the sharp end of our financial services industry?’

Morgan Stanley has increased starter salaries to $100,000 (£72,000) in the US.

Mr Rolet recognised his views were ‘not aligned with European consensus’, and risked triggering a backlash. 

‘I can’t speak for all the junior positions in investment banking, but… jobs in global trading or mergers and acquisitions, for example, do require these long hours,’ he said.

‘I grew up in a Parisian sink estate and make no apologies for working hard to make it.’

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