Skip to Main Content
by Derek Loosvelt | September 06, 2012


In Vault’s 2012 Banking Survey, along with prestige, 3,500 banking professionals were asked to rate their own firms on a scale of 1 to 10 in several quality of life categories, including compensation, benefits, hours, work/life balance, international opportunities, training, overall job satisfaction, and business outlook, among others. Vault averaged the scores for each firm in each category and ranked the top 20 firms. And, for the second year in a row, Houlihan Lokey dominated the Quality of Life Rankings in North America, ranking No. 1 in 14 out of the 26 categories.

Long known as a firm that treats its employees extremely well, Houlihan Lokey goes above and beyond to ensure its employees not only receive superior training and on-the-job experience, but also makes sure employees enjoy their jobs. Indeed, Houlihan Lokey’s employees tell us that the firm culture is collaborative and team-oriented, and senior and junior bankers have excellent working relationships. Employees also note that they receive excellent deal experience and are compensated very well, while receiving as much responsibility as they can handle. Although Houlihan Lokey insiders still work long hours (perhaps just as long as their bulge bracket peers), the firm goes out of its way to ensure its employees have a good work/life balance.

According to one Houlihan Lokey banker who took the Vault survey, “Quality of life is a priority here, starting with a great financial base and ending with true job satisfaction. The firm pays very well, at or above the Street for top performers. It provides opportunities to transfer either temporarily or permanently to other offices. And above all, there is a quiet mantra the firm employs: Do the right thing. At the end of the day you can sleep easy knowing that you created value for your clients (not just your firm), you made life easier for the senior members of your deal team, and you helped members of your junior team develop into smarter, faster and overall more valuable members of the firms.”

As a result, the firm ranked No. 1 in the following categories: Overall Satisfaction, Firm Culture, Informal Training, International Opportunities, Ability to Challenge, Internal Mobility, Client Interaction, Supervisor Relationships, Work Hours, Travel Requirements, Work/Life Balance, Benefits, Green Initiatives, and Business Outlook.

Also having a strong showing in the QOL rankings was J.P. Morgan, which, along with ranking No. 1 in Formal Training, topped every diversity category, including Overall Diversity. Meanwhile, Centerview Partners ranked No. 1 in Compensation, Firm Leadership, and Innovation. The Blackstone Group took the top spot in Hiring Process, and Goldman Sachs ranked No. in Philanthropy.

In Europe, J.P. Morgan matched Houlihan Lokey’s output in North America, also ranking No. 1 in 14 out of 26 categories: Overall Satisfaction, Firm Culture, Formal Training, Informal Training, Promotion Policies, International Opportunities, Ability to Challenge, Internal Mobility, Client Interaction, Diversity With Respect to Women, Green Initiatives, Business Outlook, Firm Leadership, and Hiring Process.

Like Houlihan Lokey, J.P. Morgan's European investment banking unit offers its employees an excellent corporate culture. Its employees told us that the firm also offers plenty of career development opportunities, encouraging employees to move within region and group if they so desire. Depending on business division, hours can be long, but insiders tell us that schedules can be flexible and work/life balance can be achieved. Employees at J.P. Morgan also noted that the firm places a “real emphasis on work/life balance and integration,” a fact that is “taken very seriously by top management.”

Goldman Sachs also took home the top spot in several categories in Europe, ranking No. 1 in Philanthropy, Innovation, Overall Diversity, Diversity With Respect to Women, and Diversity With Respect to Minorities.

To see all the results, check out the complete 2013 North American Quality of Life Rankings and 2013 European Quality of Life Rankings.

Read More:
2013 Vault Banking Rankings Are Here!
Goldman Sachs Names Most Prestigious in Vault Rankings