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Morning Coffee: ‘Motivated, intelligent, caring’ – meet the people of Goldman Sachs. Barclays product control burnout

What it's like to work for Goldman Sachs

At Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is a wonderful place to work. No really: it is. The ‘firm’ just ranked 50th in Fortune Magazine’s list of the Great Places to work in America. Naturally, Google came first and Goldman was bettered by the likes of Nugget Market – but Google always comes first nowadays and Nugget Market beat Goldman last year too. Also, we know that Goldman Sachs is a great place to work because there’s an entire page devoted to eulogizing the firm, with lots of stats to back it up.

“I I have had the pleasure to work alongside some of the most motivated, intelligent and caring people that I have ever met in my life,” says one unnamed Goldman employee of his/her employer. “Everyone is smart, happy to help and it makes coming to work every day a pleasure,” says another. Goldman employees are, “a unique group of people who are extremely sharp, yet well rounded,” says someone else.

And then there are the statistics. 89% of people say they’re proud to say they work for Goldman Sachs. 93% say they’re proud of how they contribute to their community. Another 93% say their managers are honest and ethical in their business practices. Of course, there are a few downsides – 71% of Goldman employees say the company often or always compensates them fairly, meaning that 29% think they’re compensated unfairly. 38% think promotions don’t always go to the right people. 46% think they don’t have much balance in the work and personal life. Goldman employees in the US only get nine days’ holiday a year. And Fortune lists free water, tea and coffee as one of the perks on offer in Goldman’s US offices.

Separately, yesterday’s Evening Standard Magazine contained an article on burnout on the City. This featured Uzair Patel, a 25 year-old product controller who said that one year into the graduate trainee scheme of a ‘major British bank’ he’d become depressed and suicidal after working 11 hour days, attending twice weekly accounting classes in the evening, and taking only two days’ holiday a year. Barclays’ name isn’t mentioned, but the bank has a YouTube video promoting its finance careers which features one Uzair Patel extolling the virtues of working there. “My initial expectation of working at Barclays was to work in a really dynamic fast-paced and meritocratic environment and yes, those expectations have been met – in fact they’ve been exceeded,” he says, before adding, “What’s great about the finance programme is I get to work and do a qualification on top of that.” The reality seems to have been somewhat different.

Meanwhile:

Deutsche Bank takes more risk but earns less than other banks. More redundancies are inevitable. (Bloomberg) 

2014 was the worst year for British M&A since 1987. (Telegraph) 

For several years, George Osborne says he went along with RBS’s insistence that, ‘the investment bank was going to be a viable business with operations all over the world.’ He regrets that. (Financial Times) 

UBS just made six new hires for its US M&A team. (WSJ) 

Citi is relocating lots of private bankers to Dubai. (Bloomberg) 

While other banks are shrinking their prime services businesses, Wells Fargo seems to be expanding. (FinAlternatives) 

Is finance a noble profession? (CFA Institute) 

Beware the gravitational pull of mediocrity. (Guardian) 

 

 

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