In a bid to reform company culture and attract new talent, Goldman Sachs has initiated a major overhaul of vacation days. The multinational investment bank, infamous for its demanding, cutthroat corporate culture, is looking to adjust its policies to better “support well-being and resilience.”
The move comes after an employee survey by the investment banking division, released in February, that found employees work a mean of 105 hours a week, sleep five hours a night and typically turn in at 3 a.m. All workers —100% — who took Goldman's "Working Conditions Survey," said their personal relationships have suffered due to this grueling schedule.
The survey was conducted among junior bankers and first-year analysts.
15 Days of Vacation, at Minimum
Goldman Sachs is now allowing senior bankers to have unlimited vacation days, as of May 1st, allowing the executives to take off “when needed without a fixed vacation day entitlement,” CNN Business reports.
Additionally, all employees “will be expected to take a minimum of 15 days” off from work annually.
The moves are likely to be warmly welcomed by Goldman employees, some of whom have complained about the company’s rigorous work culture. First-year analysts grumbled last February over the conditions, saying in the employee survey that work at Goldman has involved 95- 120-hour work weeks.
Goldman Sachs investment banking employees also report a sharp decline in their mental and physical health. Seventy-seven percent say they are subject to an abusive workplace, and 75% have sought out counseling.
One-hundred percent of the bankers say they are placed under “unrealistic deadlines,” 92% say they are “shunned/ignored in meetings,” and 50% have “frequently experienced unwarranted, invalid or public criticism.”
On the bright side, 83% said their superiors and colleagues do not make it a habit to shout at them.
Goldman is “pleased to announce enhancements to our global vacation program designed to further support time off to rest and recharge,” the company said in a memo shared with CNBC.
The new policies come amid a broader shift on Wall Street, post-COVID-19, as it begins to permit more remote-work flexibility, more casual dress codes, and an easier work-life balance.
‘Better Together Than Apart’
Goldman has not gone nearly as far as UBS, Citibank and BNY Mellon on remote work. However, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon joins New York City Mayor Eric Adams in encouraging workers to come back to the office and work in-person.
Elaborating on this, Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Andrea Williams told CNBC: “We are better together than apart, especially as an employer of choice for those in the beginning stage of their career.”
However, it appears the majority of Goldman Sachs professionals did not listen to Williams’ statement, as on the first day that Goldman re-opened its offices in February, only half, or 5,000, of the New York headquarters’ 10,000 employees, arrived at work, Fortune Magazine reports. The lack of in-person workers in Manhattan offices was further bolstered by data from the Partnership for New York City, which showed just 8% of Manhattan office workers have returned in-person five days a week. Nearly one-in-three, 28%, are still choosing to work from home.
The movement towards higher pay, remote work and added vacation time is not just unique on Wall Street. Partially spurred by the pandemic, a record 47 million people quit their jobs last year in a movement known as “The Great Resignation.” In today’s tight labor market of a mere 3.6% unemployment, employees are becoming increasingly comfortable flexing their muscle in achieving demands in the office.
Goldman’s survey, which included questions about plans for length of employment and job satisfaction, combined with general U.S. labor trends, are probably why the bank is trying to make more concessions for its employees.
As one Goldman analyst commented: “I didn’t come into this job expecting 9 a.m.-5 p.m.’s—but I also didn’t expect consistent 9 a.m.-5 a.m.’s either!”
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