Goldman Sachs boss says he’ll try to get Saturdays off for exhausted 100-hour-a-week staff

But CEO also suggested long days ahead for bankers, saying ‘if we all go an extra mile for our client, even when we feel that we’re reaching our limit, it can really make a difference in our performance’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
@GustafKilander
Tuesday 23 March 2021 17:34
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Related video: Tired Goldman Sachs underlings beg to work ‘just’ 80 hours a week, instead of 100

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The CEO of Goldman Sachs David Solomon has said that he'll try to give junior bankers Saturdays off after complaints about their gruelling 100-hour-a-week schedule became public through a leaked PowerPoint presentation.

Mr Solomon said in a voice memo on Sunday night that he'll try to “strengthen enforcement” of the “Saturday rule” that states that employees shouldn’t work between 9pm on Fridays to 9am on Sundays apart from during certain circumstances, The New York Post reported.

According to a transcript of Mr Solomon’s comments provided to The Independent by Goldman Sachs, the CEO said: “When I was a part of the Investment Banking team, we created the Saturday rule... because we believed strongly that we have to help people find balance in an ever-connected world.”

“In this case, it’s great that this group of analysts went to their management,” Mr Solomon said about the leaked presentation by bankers in their first year at the company.

The PowerPoint that was shared with managers laid out the case of junior bankers, one of which called working 20-hour shifts "inhumane".

Another said that the treatment they received from senior bankers at Goldman Sachs was “arguably worse” than that of his upbringing in foster care, citing stress and lack of sleep.

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The New York Post got ahold of a transcript of the voice memo in which Mr Soloman said: “We want a workplace where people can share concerns freely.

"We want to encourage all of you to take the opportunity to speak with your management.”

Mr Solomon got blasted for spending long weekends in the Bahamas using the company's private jet as one company worker complained: “My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place."

Another said: “What is not ok to me is 110-120 hours over the course of a week! The math is simple, that leaves 4 hours for eating, sleeping, showering bathroom and general transition time. This is beyond the level of ‘hard-working,’ it is inhuman/abuse."

The leaked slideshow prompted some to slam the ruthless culture of Wall Street while others said the junior bankers were privileged moaners.

Mr Soloman added that Goldman Sachs will hire more junior bankers, as it already promised to do in January.

The CEO and part-time DJ said: “We're accelerating our efforts to hire new junior bankers across investment banking and we're internally transferring bankers to business lines where activity levels are highest,” according to The Financial Times.

He added: “We're also being more selective about business opportunities that we pursue, and we're working to automate certain tasks in our business."

According to The New York Post, the mental and physical of Goldman staffers dropped significantly since joining the bank, giving their mental health a rating of 8.8 and their physical health a nine on a scale of one to 10 before starting their new jobs. Those ratings are now at 2.8 and 2.3.

Half of the group who took part in the report said they would probably quit before summer if work conditions didn't change.

Mr Solomon added in the memo: “We have to help people find balance in an ever-connected world.

"In this world of remote work, it feels like we have to be connected 24/7. We’re here to provide support and guidance. This is not easy, and we’re working hard to make it better.”

But he also insinuated that working at Goldman Sachs is unlikely to become a breeze anytime soon.

He said: “The good news is, volumes are up because we have an opportunity to work with our clients on so many interesting things right now.

"In the months ahead, there are times when we’re going to feel more stretched than others, but just remember, If we all go an extra mile for our client, even when we feel that we’re reaching our limit, it can really make a difference in our performance.”

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