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Debate: London sucks, nepotism – and the hell of being an analyst

Is London really that bad? Is it fair to find jobs through friends and family? And are the analyst years the worst of your life?

Is it really worth banking your career on London? We’ve had quite a few pieces looking at London’s allure relative to Wall Street. But several people have pointed out that London’s getting a lot more expensive than New York, meaning any upside in compensation is eroded by the downside of living in small, expensive apartments in the vicinity of fish and chip shops. ‘Libby’ goes one step further, claiming London “sucks” and Asia’s better for quality of life. US bankers want a piece of the action

Kissing class At least one bank has doubled the amount of cash on offer to employees who can entice friends (subject to having the right qualifications and knowing their bonds from their armpits) to come and work for it. But are these schemes really merit based – or do they just perpetuate nepotism and reward relationships that begin in the classrooms of prestigious universities and business schools? It’s who you know

Look back in horror We ran an email exchange between an antagonistic analyst and an impatient associate. Who was right and who was wrong? Reactions were mixed – but one thing was certain: being an analyst is not nice. Analysts vs. associates

Comments (9)

  1. I’ve been in Singapore three years now and my family don’t miss London one bit! I thought they’d hate it as it’s tiny compared to London and by comparison there’s a lot, lot less to do. But the quality of life is far better, especially if you’ve got kids. Not cheap here either!

    I visit London a couple of times a year and can’t wait to get out once I’m there!

    Not saying the place ‘sucks’ but just wouldn’t want to live there.

    On another matter, how can one be glad someone they don’t know is leaving London? And how can ‘we’ be better off. Never did understand that.

  2. I moved from London to Dublin last year and the difference is incredible. Friendliness, jokes and camaraderie on the trading floor as opposed to fights, bullying and egos. I wouldn’t go back to London for ten times my salary (which probably wouldn’t cover the tax and property prices anyway).

  3. Analysts and associates work a lot. Both can be stressed, both can feel the burden of work being thrown at their face. Better for everyone to calm down and search for maximum efficiency as those people will have to work together and as one must ackonwledge that both are under pressure. This story is a non-event and people should look a ways to overcome it with calm and better understanding of each other position.

  4. To enjoy London, the world’s number one city, you need to be making at least 250k / US$500k per annum.

    You need a nice dwelling in Zone 1, or Zone 2 at a stretch. Anywhere else incurs the cost without the buzz.

    The number of people who meet those above criteria are probably less than 10% of all the people reading this message. Unless you are in the elite, London will disappoint.

    MBA & CFA Grad Reply
  5. London is probably the best place currently for working in the financial services.
    I love it and it gave me a lot. No other places are like this. Strongly recommended for all the people who likes to take risks in life.

  6. I’ve lived and worked on three continents, in seven countries, and now in London for seven years. The quality of life here is clearly sub-standard, and it is not about money, it’s just not on offer here the way we know it in other developed European, American and Asian cities. Anything infrastructure, indoor and outdoor space, food, quality of houses/flats, service levels, you name it, is all substandard relatively.

    More bad news, peerage and pedigree are way more important than merits. An aristocratic mindset at the expense of a meritocratic ditto rules. Moreover, management skills are generally highly antiquated. Micromanagement and mutual mistrust is the norm generating a nasty bitch and blame culture. Ineffective and misguided management styles translate into all of us having to work longer hours. In academic terms this is known as UK’s 30-40% productivity gap – in the UK we have to work 30-40% longer hours to produce the same GDP as other developed countries.

    Serious money can indeed be made in the City, which makes it worthwhile to suffer a few years. Bonus is that you will have lived in a fascinating city with more history, culture, interesting people and quirks than most.

    Top 10 MBA Global Citizen Reply
  7. I have spent 8 years in London and could not stand anymore lifestyle issues and decided to go back home. You feel you earn a lot but at the same time cost of accommodation and living in general is so high that you refrain spending such ridiculous amount of money, so you save but your living conditions are dreadfull compared to others places.

    By moving back home, I have cut my salary by 2, but I can afford a flat 4 times bigger in best location, it takes me 10 min to go to work, and everybody seems to have a life outside work here, so that enjoying my week end is not something to hide anymore.

    So at some point, it is always worth to get your nose up and think if all this is really worthwhile, because you cannot catch up the lost years in your life. Money is not worth to burn your best years at the office

  8. I agree with most comments above. However, London is the place to be if you want to make your mark. Becoming an MD in London out ways the equivalent in Asia and occasionally NY (depending on your bank/desk).

    If you’re only interested in quality of life, which at a young age most people aren’t then yes, London has to be one of the most fustrating cities to work and live. Enjoy it while you’re young, leave it when you health rather than wealth becomes an issue.

  9. As someone who lives in London working as a senior IT developer in the banking sector let me tell you that indeed London does sucks. If you are one of the lucky few that can get 200k per annum, then you will enjoy London, otherwise you’ll be living in sub-standard accommodation, traveling in sub-standard conditions, doing a job that deserves much better remuneration. And that’s on top of dealing with rude, racist, and uneducated locals.

    As a plus point, don’t care about living in near squalor, and want to party, then London is the place.

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