Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon issued a statement over the weekend promising to take action after a survey of junior bankers showed widespread dissatisfaction with working conditions.
“Let me say to everyone, and in particular to our analysts and associates: We recognize that people working today face a new set of challenges,” Solomon said in a voice note to Goldman employees.
Solomon pledged to enforce the investment bank’s “Saturday rule,” which forbids managers from forcing junior bankers to work on Saturdays, according to CNBC.
Solomon’s message came after an internal survey in which bankers called conditions “abusive” and “inhumane.” Notably the survey showed that first-year analysts worked an average of 95 hours a week and slept just 5 hours a night.
Working at Goldman has long been seen as extraordinarily difficult. But several factors have led to a breaking point for young staffers. First, long hours are always tough. But the pandemic has meant that 100-hour working weeks are now spent entirely on screens and in isolation. Second, Wall Street is experiencing a particularly intense period of work surrounding the IPO craze involving special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs. Simply put, there’s more work now than might be common and young bankers are doing that work without the camaraderie that previous generations experienced.
Much of the old guard on Wall Street is apparently unperturbed by what their younger peers might be experiencing. CNBC’s Jim Cramer posted some particularly unsympathetic comments on Twitter.
Solomon’s reaction may not be as snarky, but the CEO makes plain his belief that the job comes first. ““In the months ahead, there are times when we’re going to feel more stretched than others,” Solomon said, “but 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.”