I’m writing this for everyone at J.P. Morgan in London and New York City. I’d just like to say that I work for J.P. Morgan too and life is good. I don’t do your hours and I’m not badly paid.
I’m a developer in the Glasgow office. You may even know me: I’ve worked on products that have been rolled out across J.P. globally; I’ve been on plenty of calls.
J.P. Morgan in Glasgow is a comfy kind of place. I’ve seen what things are like in Canary Wharf. Here in Glasgow, life is a lot less stressful.
Working for J.P. Morgan in Glasgow is like working for a tech firm. There are no business functions up here and there are no teams aligned to demanding trading desks. We get to work at our own pace. The environment and the culture are less finance and more tech.
Banks are known for working people hard – even in technology, but the hours at J.P. in Glasgow are short. My contract only stipulates a 35 hour working week. Admittedly, I often do a bit more than that – but not that much more. There’s not the expectation that you’re going to work super long hours here. Sometimes I work a bit longer if I want to make progress, sometimes I go home early to catch a delivery or go to the gym. No one really checks up on me – it’s up to us to manager ourselves, as long as we’re productive it’s fine.
Of course, there are caveats. I’m paid less than in London. Just look at Glassdoor – it’ll tell you that the average software developer’s salary here is £34k ($45k). In London, it’s £60k. But then you can rent an amazing apartment in a good area of Glasgow for a fraction of the cost in London, so your money goes a lot further.
J.P. Morgan’s Glasgow office is also a big place. There are more than a thousand people working here. It could just be that I’m lucky: other teams might be less comfortable places to work. – But I don’t think so.
The real issue with J.P.M. in Glasgow, though, is promotion. Promotional prospects are ok here until you hit vice president (VP) level. Once you’re a VP, you’re pretty much stuck. It’s very difficult to get any higher than VP if you’re in the Glasgow office. If you want to make MD, you need to move to London. And this is where your problems will begin. The quality of developers in London seems to be much higher than in Glasgow and people there are used to a different pace of work. Most of the top developers here eventually transfer to London, but it can be hard to make it work.
Even so, Glasgow has been good for me. I wanted work life balance and I’ve had it. I expect to move to London eventually – who doesn’t? Until then, I’m just enjoying the pace of life.
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