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Which of the Big 5 Banks have the best WLB?

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  • Sep 26th, 2021 12:17 am
[OP]
Member
Feb 20, 2015
282 posts
212 upvotes

Which of the Big 5 Banks have the best WLB?

From your experience which of the big 5 has the best work life balance? Working at RBC and I'm burnt out. The budget is always the highest priority and despite winning new clients, there's no sign of hiring more people to keep up with the demand.
27 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 1, 2017
1810 posts
1831 upvotes
It totally depends on the area and team you are on. I’ve heard RBC has pretty good work life balance and that Scotia is the worst. What area do you work in?
Banned
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Mar 7, 2007
5347 posts
3007 upvotes
I would say TD, because of the flexibility regarding working from home.

Many teams in technology and operations at TD have been doing working from home, way before the pandemic. But you need to invest some time and effort to find the right manager and team. Not everybody is the same.

I was lucky -pure randomness- and joined the bank in one of those teams. Without giving you all the details, let's just say that I have been working from home a lot (but I quit TD last month)

The WORST was CIBC, but it depends on the manager. My manager there insisted that "work from home" was something special, for exceptional circumstances only, and he expected to see everyone at the office (daily).

Scotiabank was almost as bad for me. Clear discrimination based on your job level, some people were allowed to work from home as soon as they got promoted to Sr. Manager, but everybody else had to show up daily, even if the nature of the work did not require physical presence at the office. Again, it depends on the area.

Worst training and opportunities for advancement? Scotiabank.

Best training: CIBC (but it depends of the manager / area)

Best chances for mobility (join another team): tie between TD and Scotiabank


And Scotiabank wins the award for the worst middle management layer. I have never seen so much incompetency at the director level. All the bad, careless decisions made at the director level had a negative impact on the teams under them. Life was harder for everyone under a poor director. If the director says "no working from home", no overtime, no training, etc. then you are screwed, your manager will have to enforce.

At TD and CIBC, people at the same director level are way better / smarter / practical / strategic.



EDITED for clarity, typos
Last edited by Guest032984237 on Aug 23rd, 2021 11:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Deal Fanatic
Mar 15, 2005
5720 posts
1294 upvotes
I work for one of the big 5

Work life balance for my job is pretty bad (ie my Director has told me directly that he considers a 10 hour day a standard work day) and usually I get booked for meetings all hours of the day (7am to 10pm)

It was getting pretty bad pre-COVID but WFH has torn down any semblance of barriers between home and work life
Deal Addict
Jan 1, 2017
1810 posts
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Ziggy007 wrote: I work for one of the big 5

Work life balance for my job is pretty bad (ie my Director has told me directly that he considers a 10 hour day a standard work day) and usually I get booked for meetings all hours of the day (7am to 10pm)

It was getting pretty bad pre-COVID but WFH has torn down any semblance of barriers between home and work life
What area of the bank are you in?
Deal Fanatic
Jul 13, 2009
5071 posts
3251 upvotes
All and none.

Big banks have 40-70k employees across the world and functions. It's a behemoth to manage a good WLB culture and that's why most will say "Depends on your team, depends on your manager" because 90% of the time that's the case.

Executives can blab all they want about promoting positive working culture, but everyone knows that's not always the case with the hands on work. IT fighting fires, traders/brokers closing big deals, retail banking managing clients and retention.

This is why everyone says "You don't choose a company to work for, you choose a manager".
Sr. Member
Sep 28, 2013
793 posts
559 upvotes
How is this even an answer-able question? Work-life balance can vary from sub-vertical to sub-vertical never mind division.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2020
2631 posts
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Ziggy007 wrote: I work for one of the big 5

Work life balance for my job is pretty bad (ie my Director has told me directly that he considers a 10 hour day a standard work day) and usually I get booked for meetings all hours of the day (7am to 10pm)

It was getting pretty bad pre-COVID but WFH has torn down any semblance of barriers between home and work life
That's not normal for ops roles, are you client facing or IB?
Deal Fanatic
Mar 15, 2005
5720 posts
1294 upvotes
ProductGuy wrote: What area of the bank are you in?
GTA12345 wrote: That's not normal for ops roles, are you client facing or IB?
Data management / ops
Sr. Member
Sep 28, 2013
793 posts
559 upvotes
GTA12345 wrote: That's not normal for ops roles, are you client facing or IB?
Pretty sure there would be mass riots if folks in IB get booked in to 7am meetings regularly.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2020
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angrybanker wrote: Pretty sure there would be mass riots if folks in IB get booked in to 7am meetings regularly.
Interesting. Limited knowledge of that world, I'd think the late days is norm though?
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 31, 2008
12818 posts
2917 upvotes
Toronto
I've generally heard CIBC is bad while Scotia underpays relative to all the others.
Sr. Member
Sep 28, 2013
793 posts
559 upvotes
GTA12345 wrote: Interesting. Limited knowledge of that world, I'd think the late days is norm though?
absolutely. the analysts and associates frequently work past midnight so the new rule at my bank (in light of all the negative press about analyst hours this year especially) is that there are no internal meetings booked before 9 30 am. However, if a client is in a different jurisdiction, ie Asia, all bets are off but still. 7am is extremely early, I think meetings only very very occasionally get scheduled at that time. Equity research / sales and trading start earlier so that might happen a lot more.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 31, 2017
5119 posts
2964 upvotes
OP you want good work/life balance, look into insurance if you’re considering leaving. However, I agree with the poster who said it may just be your team which is unfortunately usually the case. Another team within RBC may change your experience.

Unrelated Sidebar: Personally, I never understood the infatuation with banking and new business grads. The fancy titles/roles don’t really make it attractive when you read about the requirements. Seems like they churn them out, burn them out, then show them out.
Last edited by MyNameWasTaken on Aug 24th, 2021 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 31, 2017
5119 posts
2964 upvotes
bhrm wrote: All and none.

Big banks have 40-70k employees across the world and functions. It's a behemoth to manage a good WLB culture and that's why most will say "Depends on your team, depends on your manager" because 90% of the time that's the case.

Executives can blab all they want about promoting positive working culture, but everyone knows that's not always the case with the hands on work. IT fighting fires, traders/brokers closing big deals, retail banking managing clients and retention.

This is why everyone says "You don't choose a company to work for, you choose a manager".
I agree on your first part, however, disagree on parts of the second. Incoming rant….

Work life balance is achievable. Chronic underhiring and overworking employees is the cause and not sustainable. Also, we put the wrong people in the wrong roles and then act surprise when it doesn’t work out. That’s part of bad leadership at the middle level management.

A lot of these “urgent matters” are truly not urgent at all, but we make them sound like it is because we want to look heroic. The ones that are truly urgent are few and far between. Poor communication and direction is usually a driving force of complaints in my experience.
Sr. Member
Jun 3, 2006
936 posts
332 upvotes
Markham
There is no definitive answer to this question. The answer depends on the specific role, leader, and team. Period. A lazy person doing a job can tell you that they have great WLB whereas a go getter who wants to do/understand everything can tell you that they have no WLB doing the exact same job.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 10, 2005
11081 posts
4333 upvotes
bhrm wrote: All and none.

Big banks have 40-70k employees across the world and functions. It's a behemoth to manage a good WLB culture and that's why most will say "Depends on your team, depends on your manager" because 90% of the time that's the case.

Executives can blab all they want about promoting positive working culture, but everyone knows that's not always the case with the hands on work. IT fighting fires, traders/brokers closing big deals, retail banking managing clients and retention.

This is why everyone says "You don't choose a company to work for, you choose a manager".
This
"If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid." - Epictetus
[OP]
Member
Feb 20, 2015
282 posts
212 upvotes
Argh i think i need to get out of finance/banking and explore some other industries.

I'm just so burnt out, but it's hard to willingly put in a resignation with no backup. Ideally, I'd like to quit and sped a few months to a year on self improvement and a bit of travel... but I feel like I can't safely travel with covid still going on around the world.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 31, 2017
5119 posts
2964 upvotes
LegendaryArticuno wrote: Argh i think i need to get out of finance/banking and explore some other industries.

I'm just so burnt out, but it's hard to willingly put in a resignation with no backup. Ideally, I'd like to quit and sped a few months to a year on self improvement and a bit of travel... but I feel like I can't safely travel with covid still going on around the world.
If I may suggest, consider seeing a therapist if you haven't already. Travelling around Canada (or even within your province) can provide a good experience for the time being. If you have vacation time, consider using it now and give yourself a mental break to refresh and envision where you see yourself next.
Deal Addict
Sep 28, 2006
1158 posts
1154 upvotes
Toronto
It really depends. A lot on the person who you report to and how they measure you.

I generally don't agree with working for the banks here. Its terrible all micromanaged, compensation models are extremely outdated, and your ambitions may be suppressed.

The worst is CIBC, but its not far off from RBC and TD.

For a true work life balance and satisfaction in other areas, you gotta get out of Banking, F&I. My life became so much better when I quit.

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