Are women too lazy to succeed in investment banks?

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Lazing woman (Photo credit: Morgana Wilborn)

Are women too lazy to succeed in an investment bank? Or, specifically, are women too lazy to make it to the top of Goldman Sachs? This was the question asked by Henry Blodget at Business Insider yesterday, but Blodget had second thoughts and took the article down, so we're posing the question again.

The question was being asked by Blodget in light of the revelation that only 14% of Goldman's new partners and 25% of its new MDs are female. 'Did too many women start off well at Goldman and then quit to do something elseā€”like have families? Are women just not willing to do what it takes?,' he suggested.

One woman who was a VP at Goldman Sachs before leaving to spend more time with her family tells us women drop out from the mid-ranks at Goldman not because they're lazy, but because their lives have a different dynamic. Working mothers can't afford to pay for the sacrifices demanded of them and they're simply not willing to give up all their time to the internal politics of the firm. "As a working mom, I made the conscious decision to devote all extracurricular time to clients, and not to internal politicking, thinking that would get me paid while allowing time to be with my kids," she says.

Unless working mothers make MD before they're 40 and can therefore afford to pay the costly childcare costs (2 nannies, excellent schooling) associated with an absent mother, it's very difficult for them to succeed in investment banking, she argues. "A lot of the female partners I knew at Goldman either had husbands who didn't work or had some work-from-home type job), had no kids, or had two nannies," she adds.

Kate Grussing, an ex-JPMorgan banker and managing director of Sapphire Partners, a search firm specialising in placing senior women, says it's foolish to generalise. "There are lazy women and there are lazy men. If you have the academic credentials which are necessary to get to the starting point in investment banking, you don't have a lazy bone in your body.

"Women in investment banking aren't lazy," Grussing claims. "These women are incredibly driven and every bit as ambitious as their male peers. They also are driven by more than just their monthly paycheck."