The boss of Goldman Sachs has praised a small group of junior bankers for speaking out over excessive working hours and workplace abuse.
In a message recorded and delivered to 34,000 staff across the globe on Sunday evening, David Solomon said he took the complaints “very seriously” and encouraged others at the investment bank to speak out.
He 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.”
The boss explained he would be strengthening enforcement of “the Saturday rule” that junior bankers should not be expected in the office from 9pm on Friday until 9am on Sunday.
He added that plans for hiring more junior staff across its investment banking division would be accelerated and will automate more activities to reduce workloads.
There had been concerns among some staff that the 13 junior analysts who compiled the work survey could face recriminations for raising issues at the bank.
The first-year banking analysts said they have worked an average of around 100 hours each week in 2021 and slept five hours a night.
In the presentation, one respondent 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: “I didn’t come into this job expecting 9am-5pms, but I also didn’t expect consistent 9am-5ams either.”
More than three-quarters said they have been the victim of workplace abuse.
But Mr Solomon said he wanted more staff to speak out on issues.
The boss explained: “In this case, it’s great that this group of analysts went to their management.
“We want a workplace where people can share concerns freely. So we want to encourage all of you to take the opportunity to speak with your management. If there are any issues, do not hesitate to reach out to ask for help.”
Mr Solomon also used the meeting to suggest that continued work-from-home activities could be contributing towards difficulties among staff – re-enforcing his belief that workers should be back in offices.
He is becoming an increasingly isolated voice against hybrid working models being implemented, with the vast majority of businesses announcing flexible working as lockdowns and restrictions begin to ease.
Mr Solomon said: “We recognise that people working today face a new set of challenges. In this world of remote work, it feels like we have to be connected 24/7. All of us — your colleagues, your managers, our divisional leaders — we see that.”
The boss also reminded staff of the need to work hard, adding: “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.”