The top 15 investment banks for work-life balance

work-life balance

Work-life balance has always been a point of contention for investment banks. Demanding hours have put the industry in the spotlight and numerous firms are reforming their ways to offer a better balance for their employees. Over the past year, investment banks have been pulling out all the stops in attempts to retain their talent. This past June, Credit Suisse began offering Friday nights off and UBS has mandated that employees take at least two hours of personal time each week.

With all this effort focused on creating a better work-life balance for their investment bankers, which companies actually have something to show for it? A new report released by Vault ranks both bulge bracket and boutique investment banks on their work-life balance.

Coming in at the top spot is Peter J. Solomon Company, the first private investment bank founded on Wall Street. In surveys and employee reviews, the firm is consistently commended for the importance of work-life balance in the company’s culture. Peter J. Solmon & Company also ranked number one for company culture and weekly hours, a ringing endorsement for anyone considering a career at a boutique investment bank. A while back, we sat down for an exclusive interview with Peter Solomon, founder and chairman of the company, who revealed what he looks for while hiring.


Credit Suisse’s Friday night move paid off, and was ranked number two on Vault’s list as a result. Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs also made the list at numbers three, twelve and fourteen respectively.

Competing against smaller boutique banks for talent has propelled bulge brackets to introduce more structured work-life policies. Morgan Stanley enacted a one month sabbatical policy for newly promoted vice presidents and Goldman Sachs is attempting to cut down on the “grunt work” for analysts by leaving the number crunching to technology.

Boutique investment banks reinforced their reputation for a better work-life balance by taking the remaining ten spots in the rankings. In an interview with OneWire CEO Skiddy von Stade, boutique investment bank founder Joe Perella shares the importance of having a strong culture to retain top talent against more well-known banks.

“I want to have a firm, and hopefully do, where people can’t wait to get to work. They feel good about the people they’re rubbing shoulders with. They feel good about the contributions they’re making to clients’ goals and objectives and are proud to have our name on their calling card.” – Joe Perella, Co-Founder & Partner at Perella Weinberg Partners

Perella Weinberg was ranked number five for work-life balance according to Vault’s survey, followed further down by two notable boutiques PJT Partners and Cowen Group. Both PJT and Cowen are known for their strong culture even though they rank lower on the list for work-life balance, making their slightly longer hours worthwhile. If you’re interested in working for either PJT or Cowen, both are using OneWire to hire candidates. You can check out their open positions and apply here.

Investment bankers will always have a demanding schedule. It’s part of the job. However work-life balance is slowly creeping into the investment banking industry, regardless of where you are in your career.  Consider applying for a job to one of the firms above if you’re not getting enough personal time. Even minor improvements like two hours of mandatory personal time can make a big difference.