Goldman Sachs CEO promises to protect junior bankers' Saturdays off following survey detailing 'inhumane' conditions

  • Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon responded to complaints by junior bankers. 
  • Solomon in a message to staff said the firm will work harder to give junior bankers Saturdays off.
  • 13 junior bankers detailed “inhumane” conditions in a survey that made the rounds on social media. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Goldman Sachs’ chief executive said the firm will address issues raised by a group of junior bankers who described “inhumane” working conditions, poor mental health, and sleep deprivation in a brutal internal survey. 

“This is something that our leadership team and I take very seriously,” Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in a voice message sent to staffers Sunday, according to a transcript viewed by Insider.

The investment bank will work to more strictly enforce its “Saturday rule,” which stipulates that junior bankers shouldn’t be expected to be in the office from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday, Solomon said. It will also accelerate hiring and shift employees to the firm’s busiest divisions to ease the workload on junior bankers. 

In an informal survey posted to social media, a group of 13 first-year investment analysts at Goldman described being so overworked that they were left with barely any time to shower, eat, or sleep.

The analysts said they worked an average of 98 hours per week since January and slept an average of five hours per night. All respondents said their work hours had negatively affected their relationships, and they rated their satisfaction with their personal lives at a 1 out of 10.

“The sleep deprivation, the treatment by senior bankers, the mental and physical stress … I’ve been through foster care and this is arguably worse,” one unnamed analyst said.

Read more: Some Goldman analysts are fed up with 98-hour workweeks from their bedroom as a year of WFH forces Wall Street to reevaluate junior bankers’ workload

All 13 respondents said they have frequently experienced unrealistic deadlines, and 83% said they had frequently experienced excessive monitoring or micromanaging. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they had sought or had considered seeking mental-health counseling due to work-related stress. 

At the end of the survey, the analysts suggested several solutions to management, including capping workweeks at 80 hours and giving junior bankers Saturdays off unless they’re given advance notice. First-year analysts are often assigned “quick” work on Saturdays, and it is “incredibly hard to push back,” they said. 

Solomon attributed the high-stress conditions to a boom in business amid the pandemic. He also said that working from home has made it more difficult to strike a work-life balance.

“Clients are active, and volumes in a lot of our businesses are at historic highs. Of course, the combination of the pandemic and all this activity put stress and strain on everyone at Goldman Sachs,” Solomon said. “We recognize that people working today face a new set of challenges. In this world of remote work, it feels like we have to be connected 24/7.”

Although grueling hours and heavy workloads are expected on Wall Street — and they’re generally counterbalanced by hefty paychecks — the junior analysts indicated they were unlikely to stay with the bank if working conditions didn’t improve. 

“Being unemployed is less frightening to me than what my body might succumb to if I keep up this lifestyle,” one analyst said. 

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