Business

‘Go extra mile’ despite 95-hour week, says CE

LONDON (BBC News): The chief executive of Goldman Sachs says it’s “great” a group of young analysts raised concerns about working conditions at the investment firm.

A group of 13 US employees mocked up a presentation in which they told of 95-hour working weeks and “inhumane” conditions amounting to abuse.

Boss David Solomon said in a message: “It’s great that this group of analysts went to their management.”

But he added that going an “extra mile” can make a big difference for the bank.

In his address to the investment bank’s 34,000 staff worldwide, Mr Solomon said he expected Goldman to continue to face high demand from clients and emphasised the need to meet the challenge, saying hard work brought rewards.

“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,” he said.

The analysts sent their complaints to bosses in February, but it only became public last week.

Mr Solomon said: “We want a workplace where people can share concerns freely… If there are any issues, do not hesitate to reach out to ask for help.”

He said the company would work to improve working conditions at the firm.

Mr Solomon said: “I can imagine that many of you saw the presentation that a group of analysts shared with their management recently about their lack of work-life balance.

“This is something that our leadership team and I take very seriously.”

He pledged to enforce its “Saturday rule” which is supposed to ring fence junior bankers’ time off from Friday evening into Sunday morning.

Pressures

The world of investment banking is notorious for placing high demands on its employees.

The long hours and high pressures were thrown into focus in 2015 when a 22-year-old Goldman analyst, Sarvshreshth Gupta, took his own life after complaining of working 100 hours a week and working all night.

The 13 employees gave striking testimony, which began circulating on social media on Wednesday, detailing five hours sleep a night, harsh treatment by senior bankers and the effects on their physical and mental health. One said: “I’ve been through foster care and this is arguably worse.”

“This is beyond the level of ‘hard-working’, this is inhumane/abuse,” said another.

The bank said last week in the light of the findings going viral that it had since taken steps to address employee burnout among this small group, and among wider teams.

Mr Solomon’s address to staff 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.”

He added the firm was trying to manage its workload and reorganise some so it would be done automatically:. “We’re also being more selective about business opportunities that we pursue, and we’re working to automate certain tasks in our business.”

The investment bank reported net revenues of $44.6bn for 2020.

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