Junior bankers at Goldman Sachs say they are facing “inhumane” conditions at the investment bank, including 100-hour work weeks and “abuse” from colleagues which has severely affected their mental health.
The responses from the poll participants – 13 investment banking analysts in the US – have shed light on the gruelling demands on first-year analysts, a cohort that features some of the brightest recruits hired annually by Goldman.
The survey, presented to the bank as a slideshow in February, is now circulating on Twitter. Its contents suggest that at least one division of Goldman Sachs is still struggling with the long hours, high-pressure culture that was exposed when a 22-year-old analyst at the bank took his own life in 2015.
The 11-page presentation features “select analyst quotes”, in which the graduates describe an office environment reminiscent of scenes from the recent HBO fictional TV series Industry, which depicts the lives of new staff at the London branch of a US bank.
One said: “There was a point where I was not eating, showering or doing anything else other than working from morning until after midnight.”
“The sleep deprivation, the treatment by senior bankers, the mental and physical stress … I’ve been through foster care and this is arguably worse,” another anonymous contributor to the survey said.
Sources within the bank confirmed the survey was conducted by junior analysts themselves, and presented internally before it started to circulate online.
It will raise questions about whether banks have merely paid lip service to fixing certain workplace demands. In 2013 Moritz Erhardt, 21, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern, was found dead in a shower at his London flat. He had worked for 72 hours in a row and died of an epileptic seizure.
The death in 2015 concerning a Goldman Sachs analyst was that of Sarvshreshth Gupta, who had complained of working 100 hours over a week and working all night.
The analysts in the survey said that on average they were working 95 hours a week but up to 105 hours mid-February when the poll was conducted. The group said they were only getting five hours of sleep a night after going to bed at about 3am.
The majority said they had also faced workplace abuse. A small proportion were frequently sworn or shouted at, while at least half were ignored in meetings, or faced unwarranted public criticism, they said.
The entire group said the tough conditions had “negatively impacted” their relationships with friends and family, and severely affected their mental and physical health. Most said they would quit their jobs within six months if conditions did not improve.
“This is beyond the level of ‘hard working’, this is inhumane, abuse,” one in the survey said.
Commenting on the survey, Goldman said: “We recognise that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels. A year into Covid people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.”
It is understood that Goldman has been engaging with the analysts in the poll. It said it was also transferring staff internally to help its busiest departments, and enforcing a policy of no work on Saturdays.