NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s CEO responded to complaints from junior bankers by saying management is going to work harder to give them Saturdays off and to shift bankers from other divisions to the busiest teams in the investment bank, according to a transcript of a call seen by Reuters on Monday.
Last week, media reported that a group of junior bankers in Goldman’s investment bank told senior management in February they were working nearly 100 hours a week and sleeping 5 hours a night to keep up with an over-the-top workload and “unrealistic deadlines.” Half of the group, which consisted of 13 first-year employees, said they were likely to quit by summer unless conditions improved.
In response, Goldman Chief Executive David Solomon told employees in a voice note the bank sent on Sunday night that it will strengthen enforcement of its Saturday rule, which holds that employees cannot work from 9 p.m. Friday night to 9 a.m. on Sunday except in certain circumstances, in order to ensure they have at least one day off each week.
The bank will also accelerate an effort launched in January to hire more junior bankers and will reassign others from less busy divisions to busier ones to alleviate the work.
Solomon said he takes the first-year analysts’ complaints seriously and understands staff are facing pressure from the pandemic, which has resulted in most employees working from home for a year, and from the surge in demand for blank-check IPOs.
Funds raised through initial public offerings of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have this year already surpassed the $83.4 billion the sector raised in all of 2020, and banks play a key role in those deals.
“In this world of remote work, it feels like we have to be connected 24/7,” Solomon said. “This is not easy, and we’re working hard to make it better.”
Solomon also expressed support for the bank’s Asian colleagues in light of what he said were the “horrific attacks” last week in the U.S. city of Atlanta, where eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed.
Asian staff at Goldman have faced verbal and physical abuse in the United States and elsewhere, Solomon said, and he will meet with Asian partners and others to discuss what the bank can do to protect them and promote inclusivity at work.
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