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The top 10 companies finance professionals in the UK want to work for

eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer UK Top 10

We asked just over 2,000 finance professionals in the City of London where they would like to work to compile our 2016 Ideal Employer Rankings. Their answers were decisive: large U.S. investment banks are London’s favourite employers.

Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley held the three top spots and far outranked their U.S. universal banking peers, with Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch not even making the Top 10 (they were joint 11th and 12th).

(*) Global Rank

View the complete 2016 Ideal Employer UK Top 20

Goldman Sachs Logo

Goldman Sachs

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JP Morgan Logo


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Morgan Stanley Logo

Morgan Stanley

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Google logo


Barclays Logo


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HSBC logo


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blackrock logo


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= 8

UBS logo


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= 8

Deutsche Bank logo

Deutsche Bank

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McKinsey logo

McKinsey & Co

Barclays was City bankers’ favourite European bank, followed by HSBC and UBS. Deutsche Bank, which has the largest Europe-based investment bank by revenues, ranked joint 8th on City professionals’ list of preferences.

What makes Goldman Sachs so special?  

What’s the source of Goldman’s appeal? Needless to say, it might just have something to do with pay. 85% of our respondents who cited Goldman as an ideal employer thought that competitive salaries were a ‘strength’ of the firm. This was a higher proportion than for any other bank.

London bankers attracted to Goldman Sachs by the firm’s generous pay packages aren’t wrong. Goldman Sachs typically pays its London-based staff at ‘Goldman Sachs International’ considerably more than its global average. In 2014 (the last year for which comparable figures are available), Goldman Sachs International paid its average staff member £376k ($530k) compared to a global average of $379k.

Goldman’s London-based regulated staff (the risk-taking traders and senior managers) are especially highly remunerated. In 2014, Goldman paid each regulated staff member an average of £1.6m ($2.3m), including a salary of £611k. Goldman’s risk takers were paid an average of 35% more than Morgan Stanley’s, its closest rival.

Goldman also ranked very highly for challenging and interesting work, industry leadership, financial performance, and the opportunity to work with key players.

Despite introducing ‘protected weekends‘ and initiatives to reduce analysts’ workloads, Goldman ranked less highly for manageable working hours. Just 12% of respondents who cited the firm as a preferred employer thought this was a strength, compared to 23% at J.P. Morgan and 21% at Morgan Stanley.

However, financial professionals don’t seem to view work-life balance as being a key criteria for choosing an employer. Just 50% of UK respondents said it was important to them, way behind factors like challenging work, compensation, promotion opportunities and positive culture.

J.P. Morgan also ranked higher than Goldman Sachs on various other perceived measures. A higher percentage of respondents who cited J.P.M as a preferred employer thought the bank had a strength in their office environment, flexible working, and corporate citizenship.

Respondents selecting Morgan Stanley suggest the bank had greater strength in diversity and corporate social responsibility issues than its rivals.

Where Barclays beats the rest 

What’s the source of Barclays’ appeal among bankers in the City?

Our research suggests the British bank excels in three perceived areas: manageable working hours, a pleasant office environment and a positive culture. 48% of people who cited Barclays as one of their preferred employers said they thought the firm had a strength in manageable working hours, more than for any other banking employer on our list except Lloyds (where 75% cited working hours as a strength). Similarly, 67% said a pleasant office environment was one of Barclays’ strengths and 58% credited the bank as having a positive culture.

By comparison, after years of falling bonuses at Barclays’ investment bank, the bank ranked comparatively less highly for its perceived strength in compensating its staff.

Barclays’ success on the softer measures of employee attraction follows various initiatives to improve the lot of its junior investment bankers. In October 2014, the bank introduced new working guidelines mandating junior staff to blow the whistle on bosses who were over-working them and banning senior bankers from allocating work at 6pm on a Friday night for 8am on a Monday morning. They seem to have worked.

The tech firms are coming 

Although big banks clearly exert a continued appeal over City finance professionals, results to our survey should also give banks’ recruiters pause for thought.

When we asked London finance professionals where they’d most like to work, Google came in fourth place. Among those who said they’d like to work there, the tech giant far, far out-ranked most banks for its perceived strength in working hours, positive working culture, innovation and financial performance. More than anything else, however, Google ranked top for its perceived office environment. – Time for banks to start installing ping pong tables and bean bags?

View the complete 2016 Ideal Employer Global Rankings

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