Big 4 accountants complain of 80-hour weeks on terrible pay

Posted by PSR_AXP 11 days ago
If you leave university and work in M&A or capital markets for a major investment bank, you'll work long hours. But you will also earn a lot more money than your peers: in the US, total compensation (salary plus bonus) at major banks ranged from $135k to $205k for first year analysts last summer; in the UK, some banks are now paying analysts salaries of £70k, plus bonuses. This helps negate the pain of 80 hour weeks.
But what if you're working long hours for a fraction of banking pay? This is the gripe of juniors in Big Four (KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PWC) accountancy firms, where the hours can be long and the pay can be lean.
The Financial Times reports that people working for Big Four firms in Spain have been confronting this realization. In 2021, a group of 23-25 year-old second year auditors at EY in Barcelona reportedly complained about the fatigue of 84 hour weeks on salaries of €24k ($26k) a year, saying the hours were unsustainable. The grind reportedly coincided with shortages of people, high staff turnover and the arrival of the Big Four's "busy season" when client accounts have to be signed off to be presented to investors. One junior at the time complained about the disconnect between his expectations and the reality: "When you sign, you think you're the Wolf of Wall Street," he said. "But when they come to university, they don't inform you that you'll have 14-hour work days and sometimes there won't be enough time to eat." 

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