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An internal Goldman Sachs “Working Conditions Survey” is being circulated online as junior bankers claim that they are suffering grueling work hours and abusive treatment at the company.
The results of the survey were reported earlier by Bloomberg News and have raised increased awareness about the workplace environments of some junior talent at aggressive firms. The responses raise more concerns about the culture of the company, especially after a 22-year-old analyst at Goldman Sachs committed suicide in 2015. Survey respondents reported that since taking the job, their mental and physical health has declined 6 points and 6.7 points, respectively, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Analysts say that they have been working an average of 98 hours per week since January and typically sleep an average of 5 hours per night. All of the respondents said that their work hours have negatively impacted their relationships with family and/or friends. 77% said they felt as if they were a victim of workplace abuse and 75% admitted to seeking or considering to seek out therapy, counseling, or additional help for their mental health due to the stress of the job.
Most of the analysts are not satisfied with the firm, their work life, or their personal life — with personal life being the lowest level of satisfaction. Analysts also offered quotes about their personal experiences. One said, “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 said that their “body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place.”
In regards to actual work product, 100% of respondents said that they frequently experienced unrealistic deadlines. Some stated that they had experienced swearing or shouting, and some also admitted to being blamed for things without justification.
One added, “What is not ok to me is 110-120 hours over the course of a week! 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 [sic] inhumane / abuse.”
Another admitted, “There was a point where I was not eating, showering or doing anything else other than working from morning until after midnight.”
Possible solutions at the end of the report include the request for 80 hours of work per week to be the maximum allowed capacity. The analysts also requested that junior bankers not be expected to work after 9pm on a Friday or all day on Saturday without an exception that has been approved in advance, “as that is the only safe-guarded personal time that we get.” The request states, “The Friday night 9pm policy, and Saturday policy need to be respected,” suggesting that the protocol already put in place to protect employees’ personal time is not honored.
CNN reports that the banking firm has said it is listening to the concerns of its workers and developing solutions.
“We recognize that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels,” the bank said in a statement. “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.”
According to Reuters, Goldman Sachs also said that it had hurried the hiring of recent entry-level employees since it realizes that its staff is struggling with the work. However, it added that it takes a certain amount of time in order to assess, hire, and bring on new staff to start working.