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Goldman Wants You Even If You’ve Been Unemployed Five Years

Goldman

You may have left the workforce years ago, perhaps to have children, or you opted to bow out during the financial crisis. Now you’ve recharged your batteries and you want back on Wall Street.

So you dust off your resume and lower your standards, knowing how difficult it is returning to finance after a long hiatus, especially now when technology and regulations seem to evolve almost daily. Surely, the prestigious banks wouldn’t be interested in you, right?

Not so fast. Goldman Sachs has a program that can put you on the fast-track to vice president.

Launched in 2008, Goldman’s Returnship Program takes people who walked away from the workforce and gives them a chance to sharpen their skills in a live tryout of sorts. The program, which operates in New York, New Jersey and Bangalore, India, hires between 50% and 60% of returnees into full-time jobs at the firm.  Those who don’t stay use the skills learned to find other positions on Wall Street, say company execs. The program is open to anyone who has been out of the workforce for two years, including former Goldman employees.

As you’d expect, Goldman isn’t interested in any bum off the street. They want talented leaders who left their jobs on their own volition, for whatever reason. The bank sees it as an opportunity to mine a hidden talent pool that others neglect, says Galit Pearlman, vice president and program manager of the Returnship Program.

Similar to an internship, the 10-week program offers training, mentoring and a venue to network. It’s also a full-time, paying job.

“Returnees have real jobs, on real teams, with real accountability,” Pearlman says.

The size of each Returnship class varies on need. The 2013 Americas class has 19 returnees across New York and Jersey City. The programs kicked off in mid-January and will wrap up in March. Dates for the 2014 program have yet to be scheduled, but Goldman plans on posting information for 2014 on the GS Career site around September.

Those who are accepted into the program – men and women who have been out of the workforce anywhere from two years to more than a decade – are placed in divisions that need talent, under senior leaders who act as both managers and mentors. Most past attendees are women.

When not working on specific projects, returnees take part in workshops, learning Excel, business writing and new software packages used on today’s Wall Street.

“We recognized that we can’t just hire people and put them back at the desk,” says Tami Rosen, the divisional human resources head for the investment management division and a senior sponsor of the program. “People change, technology changes, so we know that we have to give them the skills they need to be successful.”

New Paths

Returnees aren’t required to re-enter their previous career path; Goldman provides access to new fields within finance where skillsets can be adapted.

“The beauty of the program is that it takes people with great backgrounds and leadership and gives them an opportunity to get back to work, or to take transferable skills and have a fluid career in a different field,” Rosen says.

Nor do people in the program have to have a background in finance, Pearlman says. Those with a history of client-facing jobs can adapt their skills into a product and project management role, for example. Several former Goldman employees used the program to get jobs in divisions of the company in which they had not previously worked.

Past returnees currently hold roles within the firm as business analysts, compensation analysts, trading assistants, salespeople and marketing specialists, among other positions, Rosen says.

As might be expected, to get into the program it helps to have friends already working at Goldman. Employee referrals are the firm’s best source of candidates, Rosen says, and the company doesn’t pay referral fees.

Vice President

Elyse Goodman, 43, a returnee who spent nearly two decades working in private wealth management at firms like Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, walked away from her financial planning career at Morgan in January 2009 to spend more time with her husband and two children, now aged 15 and 12. “I was working 24/7,” she says.

After 18 months, with her children in school full-time, Goodman got the itch to go back to work, but didn’t want to go back to wealth management. Through a friend who works at Goldman, she heard of the Returnship Program and applied.

“There is a risk you take [leaving the workforce]. The longer you are out, the harder it is to come back because of changes in marketplace,” Goodman says. “But to be able to come in interview, tell your story and find that your skills are valuable and that you can still leverage them was exciting.”

Goodman was accepted into the program in Sept. 2010 and eventually found her way into a new line of work – on the client services team – where she is now a vice president.  She says she finds the new division more strategic and dynamic; she’s managing relationships, products and operations.

Building Confidence

The key to the program, outside of building technical skills and a network of people with similar experiences, was a newfound sense of confidence, Goodman says.

A lack of confidence is often what deters those who are trying to re-enter the workforce from finding a job, says Hallie Crawford, an Atlanta-based career coach.

“They discount their skills and experience,” Crawford says. “A lot of times it’s a mental obstacle that they have to overcome.”

Comments (26)

Comments
  1. This is a very nice initiative. Have to say : congrats GS.

  2. Wow, great program. This is the first positive thing I have seen written about GS in 5 years.

  3. Wish they’d have made this more known, was out of work for 2 full years, got a job 2010, and am getting laid off again 3/31. Not eligible by what I read here.

  4. Great initiative by Goldman. We need more of our large companies investing in their workforce this way. Transparency, mentorship, training and networking are the ways to get our workforce back on track. Bravo!

    I’m working on a similar initiative to allow employers to clearly communicate their criteria to top college students. This way we don’t have students graduating unaware of what skills are necessary to succeed. If you know anyone looking for an internship or entry level job OR anyone looking to hire interns , they can check out http://www.tryecruit.com for free.

  5. i wish to join this program am from uganda

  6. Congatulations. I wish to join the program.

  7. Sounds brilliant, how can i sign up please?

  8. WWWWWOWWWWW,

    19 positions per year!!!!! perhaps all the people who have been thrown out into the street can have a job thanks to those baz-stards at goldman who caused this crisis to begin with. I have been unemployed for 5 years and goldman would not even look at my cv despite my high credentials.

    F goldman sachs and F their stupid program

  9. Yeah these wits only care about their own behind and receive state bails but no bail outs for businesses and people..,….. corrupt dastards.

  10. THIS IS GREAT! But I live in France Will there be a similar program by GS France? I worked in Investment banking for 10 years then stopped to raise my children, and after a decade away I am very motivated to get back. This would be just perfect for me.

  11. I’d like to join the program the next time it has openings.

  12. Hello My name is Malina Nagasar and I’m very interested in your 10 week program can you please contact me my number is 718-736-4786 .
    Thank you kindly.

  13. I would like to join the program next time it is offered.

  14. I am very interested in this program. I have not been working for the past 5 years. I have a strong leadership background in my previous careers, and fiance.

  15. 75,000 applicants, 19 spots, 11 hires. obv not a financial analyst position.

  16. The article doesn’t say 1) if these people are paid for their time and/or associated IP, and 2) if this isn’t like some sort of notion on Goldman’s part exploitatively of these ‘inferiors’ paying tribute to it by working for free as ‘interns’, 3) if they had large amounts of savings or if they were people connected to money that Goldman potentially would manage, 4) if they weren’t a threat to the status quo there, 5) Goldman gets to chest beat it is doing something ‘community-minded’ and obtain other welfare like transfers by doing this. and notice none of those mentioned were M&A types or anything with any real income generating ability in observing about the pecking order of elitist cultures at Goldman and similar places.

  17. I was not working for past five years and i would like to join the programme.

    My name is SHAHANA ,and iam a postgraduate in finance and accounts. I worked more than two years for the client ‘Barclays Bank’ through an outsourcing firm called Infosys bpo ltd where i was with the central operations department assigned by Barclays retail banking.-Administration Department..(2006-2008) Now i recently been moved to UAE and trying to build up my career in Administration, Accounting /financial service industry.

    Here i kindly request you to consider me in your new career programme.

    Thanks and Regards
    Shahana Shihadh
    Mob: 05 27026464, 05 62797657

  18. Count me in…. Great program. Before i look out for the start of 2014,s program on the GS Career site i wish to book my place now. I have close to twelve (12) years working experience in Banking and Finance, five of which have been at middle management level and the last one (1) and some months being at senior management level. Had my first degree in Economics & Sociology and obtained my MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration – GIMPA. My overwhelming interest is in business development, bank marketing, credit and financial analysis, customer service and credit portfolio management. My objective is to be a significant contributor to a dynamic organization in realizing it’s set goals and even exceed expectations. My competencies lies in Banking Operations,Risk Management,Relationship & Relationship Support Management.Remedial Assets Management and Recoveries

  19. Consider me for the 2014 program or earlier.I am a banker by profession and have been in the industry for twenty years and still very active @ 41. My experience is in the area of investment banking and operations,budgeting,credits monitoring, international banking and treasury.

    I have a diploma and a degree in Commerce. My experience with a major international bank in Ghana has given me a good exposure in the field of banking.

    Joining your group would give me the platform to achieve even greater heights and I look forward to hearing from you.

  20. GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A MARK!

    Consider me for the 2014 program or earlier.I am a banker by profession and have been in the industry for twenty years and still very active @ 41. My experience is in the area of investment banking and operations,budgeting,credits monitoring, international banking and treasury.

    I have a diploma and a degree in Commerce. My experience with a major international bank in Ghana has given me a good exposure in the field of banking.

    Joining your group would give me the platform to achieve even greater heights and I look forward to hearing from you.

  21. GOOD OPPORTUNITY!

    Consider me for the 2014 program or earlier.I am a banker by profession and have been in the industry for twenty years and still very active @ 41. My experience is in the area of investment banking and operations,budgeting,credits monitoring, international banking and treasury.

    I have a diploma and a degree in Commerce. My experience with a major international bank in Ghana has given me a good exposure in the field of banking.

    Joining your group would give me the platform to achieve even greater heights and I look forward to hearing from you.

  22. This sounds great, I had my soon in 2008, and left Citigroup in 2010. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to the working force. I am license with FINRA holding my Series 7,9,10, 24 65 66 Life and Health. I managed 40 Financial Advisors in NYC. I have an in depth knowledge of financial products, due to my role as Vice President of Product Development and distribution at Citi.

  23. Pingback: What Position Are You Applying For? | That Raise?

  24. nice program ..please help me enroll asap ..

  25. Hello? Goldmann Sachs is responsible for all the subprimes and further on crisis! They have so much blood on their hands! Whatever they do, how can they be “cool”?

  26. It is a superb opportunity!!!!

    I am into Operations and Risk Management with an MSc in Operations Management.

    Raj

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