A slide presentation prepared by a group of junior Goldman Sachs analysts reporting on a survey about working conditions at the firm was leaked this week and circulated online, giving us all a view into the world of the budding financial elite. Based on the results, working at the investment bank as a junior employee sounds like a living hell.
On average, the group of 13 respondents was working 98 hours a week and sleeping just five hours per night, having worked an average 105 hours the week of February 13, according to the presentation. The group reported that stress from work had a significantly negative effect on their mental and physical health, as well as their personal relationships with friends and family, leading most to seek or "considered seeking help due to deteriorating mental health."
The vast majority of the junior analysts also reported that they'd been subjected to workplace abuse, were deeply unsatisfied with their lives thanks to the work, and would almost certainly quit if things did not change within the next six months.
"I didn't come into this job expecting a 9am-5pm's, but I also didn't expect consistent 9am-5am's either," one analyst wrote in the survey.
Another analyst was even more blunt. “What is not ok to me is 110-120 hours over the course of a week!” they wrote. “The math is simple, that leaves 4 hours a day for eating, sleeping, showering, bathroom and general transition time. This is beyond the level of ‘hard-working’, this Is inhumane / abuse.”
At the end of the survey, the analysts offer some solutions that might fix the horrible conditions. The obvious solution is a union (Vice is a unionized workplace), but instead the young bankers ask for much more modest and rather depressing fixes.
The group is willing to settle for working a maximum of 80 hours per week, enough time to leave them "rested and free from juggling an insurmountable amount of conflicting work streams." They also want more time to work on client meetings, more immediate team meetings to plan projects and avoid time crunch, as well as a prohibition on any work being done after 9pm Friday or all day Saturday "without a pre-approved exception."
“We recognize that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels,” Nicole Sharp, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs told Bloomberg, which first reported on the survey results. “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.”