Headcount at Goldman Sachs International – Goldman Sachs’ London-based business – has never been higher. Thanks to Brexit and offshoring, this may yet change. The firm is currently looking for someone based in Poland to help it make, “involuntary terminations” across Europe.
The job in question is for an “employee relations analyst” to work in the Warsaw office of Goldman’s human capital management (HCM) division. Among other things, the role will entail dealing with the maternity process for UK employees and working on “all aspects of the involuntary termination process as it relates to the specifics of EMEA terms,” as well as helping to, “drive processes that affect EMEA terminations”.
Involuntary terminations is a common euphemism for redundancies. Although the role doesn’t specify that the layoffs concerned will be in London, London is where the bulk of Goldman’s European jobs are based.
As the chart below shows, employment at Goldman Sachs International rose 10% last year, driven by increased hiring for support functions.
In London at least, any expansion may well prove short-lived. A growing proportion of Goldman’s EMEA support jobs are likely to be based in Poland in future. Opened in 2011, Goldman’s Polish office is in the process of a “phased expansion” that will see hundreds of jobs added across legal, compliance and human resources in the next three years.
Goldman’s London operation is also at risk from layoffs as the firm cuts costs in fixed income sales and trading and contemplates a future in which the UK is outside the European Union. In an August regulatory filing, Goldman said Brexit could force it to “restructure” some of its UK operations. Interestingly, and ironically, it now looks like any restructuring will be facilitated using staff based out of Warsaw.
For the moment, there’s been little sign of Goldman – or any banks – shifting jobs out of London as a result of Brexit, but consultants say it’s early days. “Once Article 50 has been triggered, you’ll see plans being crystallized,” says Graham Bishop. a consultant on the EU and financial services, and spokesman for the Financial Services Negotiating Forum. “At that point, it becomes a reasonable assumption for banks’ planners that they only have two years before we’re out.”
British prime minister Theresa May is under pressure to trigger Article 50 by May 2017. In the meantime, banks are lobbying hard. While Goldman is hiring someone in Warsaw to help it cut jobs in London, UBS is recruiting a London-based head of governmental affairs to work closely with, “top management on emerging political and regulatory developments and manages the interactions with policymakers and industry associations around the globe”.