David* worked in investment banking for 33 years and was made redundant three years ago. Banking had defined his sense of self, provided him with friends, disposable income and monopolised his waking hours.
“Banking dominated my life. When you put in 12 hours a day and often more; flown from London to Singapore at a moment’s notice; when you devote yourself to a job like that, it takes over. It defines who you are," he said. Losing his job was a blow and caused him to slide into depression. "When I left I was in a very bad mental state," he said. "It took six months to admit that I was damaged by it."
Redundancy is becoming an increasingly common experience for those working in investment banking. The industry itself is shrinking, as tougher regulation after the financial crisis squeezes profits. The rise of technology is also automating certain tasks, meaning banks are consistently restructuring teams and reassessing roles...
Those made redundant from investment banks usually receive generous payouts, typically much higher than the legal minimum of one week's pay for every year worked at a company. Lawyers say bankers usually pay out a month of salary for each year of service , with senior individuals who leave on good terms often receiving even more generous compensation.
Oliver Holloway, a coach at SEVEN Career Coaching, said this gives investment bankers a leg-up when faced with redundancy, allowing them to have breathing space in which to reflect. Holloway said: "Every client comes in saying this is the biggest nightmare. But really what is the bigger nightmare? Sitting there for the next 20 years in the same job? This a time where they get to stop. Someone has forced them to reassess everything." That can be important for individuals to process the mixed emotions that come with leaving a job unexpectedly.
Written by Becky Pritchard and Nell Mackenzie
Read the full article on Financial Times here.