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Relatively few bankers declare having had a burn-out – Why?

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In its latest study, Emolument.com asked 1,132 professionals if they ever had a burn-out. Junior professionals are most at risk, and as expected, burn-outs are more common in sectors entailing long working hours, with the surprising exception of banking.

“Have you ever had a burn-out?” – By salary

  • High earners : few burn-outs, many interpretations. Employees earning over £100,000 a year have the lowest burn-out rate (53%). Their resilience when faced with intensive working conditions might have played a part in reaching those top jobs in the first place. Another explanation could be that high incomes have allowed these professionals to step back from their career if they felt an oncoming burn-out.
  • Lower pay also means poorer working conditions:Employees at the lowest end of the payscale are the most at risk from burn-outs (9 out of 10 have experienced a burn-out). They are most likely to have to work extra hours to make ends meet, and feel the pressure of performing well more acutely than those with more financial flexibility.

“Have you ever had a burn-out?” – By degree


  • No degree = low salary = high burn-out rate : In line with the previous table, unskilled workers without university degrees are the ones with the highest burn-out rate (79%).
  • Stay in school, kids. Professionals who stayed at university for 5 years or more are less likely to have a burn-out (52% of masters’ degree holders) than those with a bachelor degree (71%). Having a master or a PhD often gives professionals a competitive edge, enabling them to be more picky when choosing jobs. A top education also contributes to employees’ toolboxes when it comes to managing projects, workflow and stress.

“Have you ever had a burn-out?” – Worst 3 sectors


  • The healthcare crisis : Crowded emergency rooms, understaffed hospitals, general lack of resources in an professional environment where stakes are high: the list of complaints from healthcare professionals is alarming, particularly in the UK1. These failings take a substantial toll on employees, with 82% of healthcare professionals saying they have had a burn-out.

“Have you ever had a burn-out?” – Top 3 sectors


  • Burn-out in banking : don’t ask, don’t tell… Stories of burn-outs in the banking sector are often found in the media2, but, surprisingly, relatively few bankers declare having had a burn-out (56%). Could it be that a macho banking culture, which glorifies hard work and 100+ hours weeks, might discourage employees from acknowledging a burn-out?
  • …Or leave : Financial sector professionals are highly likely to have quit finance following a burn-out in order to pursue less demanding careers, thereby artificially bringing down the proportion of bankers having had burn-outs.

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder & COO at Emolument.com said: ‘Alpha jobs such has consulting or banking are unlikely to provide adequate structures for professionals to recover from a burn-out. Moreover, stigma attached to burn-outs is likely to deal such a blow to a top performing professional’s career that they are unlikely to thrive should they recover and return to their teams. Having been accustomed to outperforming throughout their university and professional lives, burn-outs are still taboo for many, often perceived as a lack of discipline and willpower and rarely acknowledged as a valid condition ‘

1- https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/06/nhs-faces-humanitarian-crisis-rising-demand-british-red-cross
2- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/goldman-sachs-analyst-found-dead-hours-after-complaining-to-father-of-100-hour-weeks-10292977.html

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