Goldman Sachs made headlines earlier this month by being ranked the most hated company in the U.S., finishing ahead of the likes of oil spillers and cable providers that make you wait on hold for two hours. It was a bit weird seeing Goldman atop the list as it’s not a consumer-facing firm. After all, the Harris Poll takes into account the opinions of everyday Americans, 99.9% of whom have never had any interaction with Goldman Sachs.
So what’s everyone’s problem? It's likely a combination of the continued fallout from the financial crisis mixed with the fact that bankers still make plenty of money, and Goldman Sachs remains the face of investment banking. The growing pay gap in the U.S. was a huge point of consternation in 2014.
Either way, the American public appears to have no love for Goldman Sachs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t admire them. Goldman just finished 23rd overall on Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies list, which looks at more than 1,400 large corporations.
Now, admittedly the audience is a bit different than the Harris Pool. Fortune didn’t reach out to just anyone. They took responses from 4,104 executives, directors, and securities analysts in a variety of industries, some of whom work in banking. When you filter out those who don’t work in the industry, Goldman is the most admired megabank in the world.
It finished first among banks in innovation, people management and global competitiveness. Goldman won the silver medal for its use of corporate assets, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value and quality of products/services. It only faired poorly in one category: social responsibility.
Moreover, Goldman finished first among all 1,400 companies in the ability to attract, develop and retain talent. It beat out Google, Facebook and Apple. The bank announced earlier this month that it hired just 3% of applicants in 2014.
So, maybe the Epicurean Dealmaker was right. Goldman Sachs doesn’t care what you think. Unless you’re a client, candidate or competitor. Those people couldn’t hold Goldman in higher esteem, it appears.