• The average City worker has 23 weekends a year disturbed by work with half working 25 or more weekends 
  • Almost all* employees say they are expected to be “always available” 
  • Just one in seven* say bosses have taken action when they’ve complained about stress 


Demanding bosses and increased work pressures are turning up the pressure and stress levels for City workers with staff expected to be always available, new research* from MetLife shows.

Its study among senior decision makers from financial institutions and investment banks found 95% say they are expected to be always available for work with weekends seen as a continuation of the normal working week. They work on average 23 weekends a year, with 50% of executives saying weekends have been disturbed by work at least 25 times in the past year.

Complaining about stress makes no difference – just one in seven (14%) of those questioned say bosses have taken action when they have complained about pressure at work.

The failure by management to address stress in the City runs counter to the efforts by investment banks to officially help staff – 81% say new employees are given information on the pressures involved and the resilience needed for their role.

But that fails to translate to individual managers – just 23% of employees feel able to discuss stress issues with their managers. By contrast 65% feel able to discuss the stress they are under with colleagues.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director at MetLife UK said: “Investment bankers often pride themselves on working long hours but there needs to be a balance and managers need to recognise the impact on individuals.

“What should never be acceptable under any circumstances is the fear of admitting to stress or mental health issues simply because of perceived career damage.

“If the management style of these organisations is demanding, they should provide provisions to tackle mental health issues and should encourage staff to admit when there is a problem. By doing so, not only will they show a duty of care to their staff, their bottom line will also more than likely improve thanks to a committed and supportive workforce.”

The main reasons for working during the weekends were given as having to catch up on work that wasn’t completed during the week, with 37% of executives admitting they struggle to switch off at weekends. Half of all executives admit their job has got “more stressful” over the last year, with two out of five (40%) saying their job is extremely stressful and 67% considering quitting their jobs in the next year if stress levels do not improve.

MetLife is partnering with Maudsley Learning, whose mission is to reduce stigma relating to mental health in the workplace, as part of its commitment to help employers tackle the challenges of stress and mental health. Throughout 2016 MetLife has campaigned to highlight the need to increase awareness of the benefits of organisational resilience and training.

It offers its own ProActive Protection Group Income Protection policy which takes a proactive approach to preventing absences and helping employees who are unwell to return to work. It supports in helping to identify and to understand employee health issues before they become serious problems and provide support to enable employees to return to work more quickly.

Employees can access a range of health and wellbeing information and other support services via MetLife’s Wellbeing Hub and use the Employee Health Gateway to calculate their own ‘Health Age’ and receive personalised health and wellness information. There is also a comprehensive 24x7 employee assistance programme providing practical life management support, guidance on health issues and counselling services, including if necessary access to five face - to- face counselling sessions. 

Notes to Editors

  • * Research conducted online by Pollright among a representative sample of 104 financial institution group and investment bank decision makers in April 2016

The references to “MetLife” are general references to the group as a whole and not to specific entities within the group. MetLife in the UK comprises a number of different companies.

MetLife Europe d.a.c. is an Irish Insurance company based in Dublin with Dirk Ostijn as Chief Executive Officer. MetLife Europe d.a.c. provides financial products into the UK via its UK branch, of which Dominic Grinstead is the branch manager.

The MetLife ISA is provided and managed by the UK Branch of MetLife Europe d.a.c..

MetLife Europe Services Limited is an Irish services company, which distributes MetLife Europe d.a.c.’s products to Independent Financial Advisers via its UK branch. Key personnel within the UK branch of MetLife Europe Services Limited are Simon Massey, Wealth Management Director, Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director and Claire Oldstein, Marketing Director.

Products and services are offered by MetLife Europe d.a.c. which is an affiliate of MetLife, Inc. and operates under the “MetLife” brand.

MetLife Europe d.a.c. is a private company limited by shares and is registered in Ireland under company number 415123. Registered office at 20 on Hatch, Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. UK branch office at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA. Branch registration number: BR008866. MetLife Europe d.a.c. (trading as MetLife) is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Details about the extent of our regulation by the FCA and PRA are available from us on request.

MetLife Europe d.a.c. is affiliated with US-based MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), which through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit

For further information, please contact:

Jo Riddell
Head of Communications, UK, Ireland and Europe, MetLife