Goldman Sachs’ Bangalore business is quite the place. Between 2004 and April 2017, it went from 400 to 5,000 people. Since April, it’s seemingly added another 1,000. Ultimately, it could have up to 9,000 people on a new $250m “campus” site due to open in 2019. While Google has the Googleplex, Goldman will soon have a large leafy area on Bangalore’s ring road.
Goldman president David Solomon is all for the firm’s expansionary Indian operation. In a recent throaty podcast posted on Goldman’s own site, Solomon said India has plenty going for it: 50% of the population is 25 years or younger and the Indian government needs to create “10 million jobs a year” simply to keep them all busy. India is already growing faster than China, said Solomon, and the lack of Indian investment in infrastructure creates a huge potential for “outside capital” to make improvements. Ultimately, Solomon said he’s more optimistic about the business opportunity for Goldman’s clients in India than he is for their opportunity in China.
This is saying something, given that China has long been hailed as the holy grail for banks’ expansion globally. It also explains why Solomon says Goldman now houses 6,000 people in Bangalore, and why Goldman is currently advertising at least 100 more roles there – not all of them in technology and the so-called “Federation” (back office), but in its investment banking division and front office “strats” teams too.
However, there’s a cloud over this Indian idyll. And that cloud is promotions. Getting promoted in Bangalore isn’t easy.
The issue is illustrated by Goldman’s latest list of managing director (MD) promotions. While 17% of the firm’s 35,800 employees are now based in Bangalore, just 2% of the new MD class came from the Bangalore office. Nor are things getting better: 4% of Goldman’s new MDs were in India in 2015. If you’re in Bangalore, the trend is moving in the wrong direction.
The resulting frustration is in evidence on Glassdoor’s site devoted to Goldman’s Bangalore employees. Alongside the standard Goldman-related complaints about working hours, there are people there bemoaning the lack of promotional opportunities and the tendency to hire-in new graduates and pay them more than experienced hires. One analyst in Bangalore specifically decries what he claims is Goldman’s tendency to demote experienced analysts with two years experience to “analyst 0” if they move into front office roles, possibly in London or New York.
Even so, and despite the near-impossibility of getting a sniff at MD jobs in Bangalore, morale in India generally seems good. Employees at Goldman’s Bangalore office give it 3.9 stars overall on Glassdoor – the same as their peers give London and New York, and one anonymous Bangalore employee credits management with being, “awesome”.
Anyone looking for the most miserable office at Goldman, might therefore instead want to cast their eyes to Warsaw, where Goldman is busily building another low-cost hub in Europe. Although, 25% of the people Goldman promoted this year are in Europe, none of them appear to be in Warsaw, despite Goldman having had an office there since 2011 and already employing hundreds of people in Poland. On Glassdoor, Goldman’s Warsaw office only has three employee reviews. One claims senior staff there are out for themselves. Another says it’s hard to make money and “grow”.
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